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Old 09-07-2004   #1
JimW
 
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Multiple Country Sites Hosted in U.S.

Hi.

New here, but attended SES in San Jose. Our company is based in Chicago and we host the NL and UK versions of our site here as well (DE soon to follow). We have a horrible splash page for choosing country that we will eliminate very soon.

My questions: is it advantageous to use the country-specific domains (.nl, .co.uk and .de) for those sites, rather than using .com for all and redirecting users once they click on the country of their choice from our US homepage? Will Google and other regional engines see those sites as being relevant to users in the respective countries?

Many thanks.
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Old 09-07-2004   #2
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A local domain name for those areas can be helpful. Some will also insist that you have to host the site in those countries as well. I don't prescribe to that theory as long as you have a local TLD you should be fine.
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Old 09-08-2004   #3
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Hello Jim,

Bienvenido a SearchEngineWatch Forums!! Here are some suggested reading that might help get an answer:

Should Search Engines adopt different results outside the U.S.?

The Google domination factor (GDF)

Search Marketing en Espanol

What is the best way to create multi-lingual sites?

If you feel you still need more, drop a note here and Members will be happy to discuss them with you.

Saludos!
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Old 09-08-2004   #4
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I have optimized a great deal of sites - most of them European, and many of them hosted in the US. I honestly never saw any difference in results. If the server works and can spit out the content fast enough the spiders are just as happy as the users

I would only chose country specific domains if:

A) You expect to have a considerable amount of content under each domain

B) You expect to be able to build enough strong indbound links to ALL domains to be able to compete in the target markets


If not, then I think you are better off using a country directory (www.domain.com/de/ - for germany)
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Old 09-09-2004   #5
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I agree with Mikkel completely.

You did not specify what markets so I am assuming the big ones. Most of the search engines in other markets default to their local language versions. At SES London the number that was thrown around was - 90% of Europeans use the local "language" version of the search engine.

To qualify and rank well for a "local language" you need to have the most relevant content in the local language. There is no requirement for a local TLD.

Ok.. that is the easy part... what about getting those English speakers in Canada, Australia and UK? Google gives them two choices -- world wide or UK only. If you want to target these folks in their native environment you will need to have a local TLD -- because Google and others "filter" on TLD or local market IP for the server and in some rare cases I have seen good pages with lots and lots of spot on links from local TLD pages in the results.

So, use your .com address and split off the countries with /de etc. But make sure the content is well done by a qualified translator.
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Old 09-11-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW

My questions: is it advantageous to use the country-specific domains (.nl, .co.uk and .de) for those sites, rather than using .com for all and redirecting users once they click on the country of their choice from our US homepage? Will Google and other regional engines see those sites as being relevant to users in the respective countries?

Many thanks.
It is certainly advantgeous to use national TLD's - if you are hosting sites in the USA which are aimed at the specific nationalities. That way, those sites/pages can at least be accepted in local/geographic listings and rankings.

If you physically host in these countries then there is no issue - you'll be pigeon-holed sinmply on the country of origin for your IP.

I used to host everything in the USA because it's cheaper than the UK - but I moved everything back to the UK this year to take advantage of geo-targeted listings, and help with national branding.
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Old 09-11-2004   #7
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Now that you are finding the best strategy to use for multiple country sites hosted in the U.S., what are you doing for to bring more traffic from the International divisions of Mayor Search Engines to your U.S. sites?
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Old 09-11-2004   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
I would only chose country specific domains if:

A) You expect to have a considerable amount of content under each domain

B) You expect to be able to build enough strong indbound links to ALL domains to be able to compete in the target markets
Am I correct then, that if you're doing completely translated versions of the same site, that country specific domains would make sense?

This would satisfy (A), in that the amount of content would be the same under each domain...

...and, if you're hoping for relevant inbound links, then the link has to be in the language of the site, so that (B) must be satisfied if you expect to compete.

Taking this a step further... and I'm just theorizing here... if you want to interlink the sites, because Google appears to be frowning upon too close a relationship among sites in similar areas, you should host them separately, and inbound links should be from independent sources as well.
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Old 09-12-2004   #9
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Interlinking the sites shouldn't necessarily be a problem.

Technically, someone could make an argument that it may be "link farming" - someone else could mark an argument that it's a necessary and helpful navigation tool.

Jupitermedia links all it's sites together (see footer of this page), as does iNet, DevShed - even Google links to Google.com from it's country-specific versions.

Last edited by I, Brian : 09-12-2004 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 09-12-2004   #10
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The way to look at it is -- could this happen naturally or does it look atificial? A company that links its local market sites to each other as well as its subsideraries -- that seems pretty natural to me. Now creating 50 versions of the same site with different names, skins and a slight mixture of words... that does not seem very natural.

As far as advantages, it absolutely can help you expecially is you are distributing those sites on a wide base of IP's. We work with a lot of very large global companies and the first thing we do is link them all together on a "location map" that has direct links to each of the local market sites. You do not get as much value if they are all sitting on the same class C in the corporate headquarters. But using local TLD's and on different IP blocks works the same as if they were other quality sites linking to you.

We have one client where we have linked all of their international domains on a top level as well as a product level and that has created over 50 PR9 product pages. This helps when we bring a new business unit online we simply get them linked from the products & services page [why they were not liked in the first place is a whole other thread] and that gets them crawled within a few days and into the index ranking reasonably well out of the gate.

One thing we are starting to do now is link inner category or large product lines together. It creates is own natural authority cluster promoting the dominant WW page especially in the global indexes. Talking to the engines, there does not seem to be anything wrong with this since it makes sense a company would link to its local versions. Most brand/product managers are territorial so they do not often think about linking to the other country pages. Once we do we see all the pages ranking better as well as increased traffic flows to the other markets.

The problem I see very often with multi-country sites is that they use dynamic site maps that are pop-ups or DHTML driven and they cannot be crawled.

For my book on Enterprise SEO, I recently reviewed the Top 100 corporations and found many of these do not interlink to their local markets or if they do it is not optimal or cannot be crawled resulting in many of the local version not even being indexed.
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Old 09-14-2004   #11
Patrick Berry
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In Spain, (my local market) my web logs from varios sites in different sectors indicate that between 8 and 19% of searches done in google use the ´´paginas de españa´´ option. That is the local pages option.

Are people sure that a .fr ccTLD is enough to make Google (and the rest) think a site is hosted in France ?

I have no data or experience to answer that question.

I suspect that getting a ccTLD is not enough to get into that 8 to 19% of searches that are done for paginas in the country of the searcher. I suspect you need to physically host the site there to.
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Old 09-14-2004   #12
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Hi Patrick,

I have confirmed with all the major engines that a .fr is good enough to be considered "in France". Since they are simply "filtering" it makes it easy for them to use that as an initial sort. Most countries make it somewhat difficult to get the local TLD by requiring a local address or an Executive in the country or some other local centric requirement unlike the .com which anyone can get pretty easily.

They use the IP to take into account those using other extensions like .com that are actually hosted in France.
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