|.com or .co.uk|
Just joined the forum, been lurking around for a while...
I have bought a .com which has been listed in Google for 4 years as a holding page, with a few affiliates on that page. No PR or inbound links.
I have bought off the shelf the .co.uk. I am based in the UK, and looking to sell primarily to a UK based customers.
My questions are:
Do i use the co.uk or use the .com as my main url and redirect either url to each other?
If i use the new url will the .co.uk be "sandboxed"?
The .com has been around for a few years but is hosted in the US at the moment, but i will bring it over to the UK. Due to what i have said do you think i should use the .com instead and just re-direct the .co.uk to the .com so Google lists me quicker and i don't get caught up in a sandbox?
From what i can understand Google will see that i have the .co.uk and treat me as a UK site and list me on Google .co.uk even though i am using the .com as my main url?
Thanks in advance.
What type of a UK vs. US customer breakdown do you have? 99%, 90%, 50%?
If you are selling primarily to UK based customers I would consider setting up the co.uk domain on a UK based server and 301 redirecting the .com site to the co.uk.
This is the important part: Make sure that when you do this you keep the co.uk site *exactly* as it was on the .com... No change in title tags, no change in URL structure, and so on ... for at least two weeks. You'll need to give "the system" some time to adjust to the change. Expect some temporary traffic slowdown and search engine ranking drops during that time. Watch everything carefully. If after two weeks things are worse, you can always move everything back to where it was.
Having only a .co.uk domain will also now alienate most of the US business you have as everyone will see you as "regional." This will be more so with tangible goods. If you are offering services or digital goods, people will still shy away.
I would also consider having both a .com and a .co.uk presence. Google should be smart enough to figure out this is not duplicate content spam that you usually see coming from different pages on the same domain and server. Have one server in the US and one in the UK. The co.uk will be prevalent in the UK and maybe EU results and the .com elsewhere. On the .com site put a small link at the top to the co.uk site for client convenience.
[edited by: TowerOfPower at 7:48 pm (utc) on April 19, 2009]
TP, thanks for the response. Hard to say on the split end user level, its a new project but its a everyday product, sold worldwide. If i go by the existing sites i run after 12 months i get a 40% US and 60% UK base, my other sites are running off .com's but i have the co.uks on re-directs. I agree, i run a .co.uk for a while, US sales were small, swapped it over and they improved vastly.
I prefer to target the US or outside of the Europe due to the VAT element, plus from what i can see the UK goverment will put VAT up to 20% rather than back to 17.5% to make up for loss of revenue over this year. Stupid policy, but it will have an impact on what i do or anyone selling product in the UK.
From what you have said and my limited knowledge on this i will probably use the .com and 301 the .co.uk, my main worry is the sandbox issue if i use the .co.uk. Plus the .com is listed. Also i would hope G would recognize that the .com sits on a UK server and the .co.uk is pointed towards this.
If i read you right you are saying to run 2 sites, for me that's a issue with unique content, plus would cause me other issues with inbound links, which site do you use. Also, i am uncomfortable with taking the end user off the site, once they have landed i like to keep them their, i have tried this before and the bounce rate was high for me, this could be to do with product, various variables to consider.
I have found after a 2-3 year period running off a .com with a co.uk on a 301 i do very well in Google.com and .co.uk, i presume this is a time issue and relavance to theme and inbound links are crucial.
Because the .co.uk is brand new, and the .com listed in G for 4 years shall i just do a 301 on the .co.uk or place a holding page on the .co.uk for 2 weeks or so, get G to spider it and list a few pages, then re-point it towards the .com?
From my thinking is G going to see this better than a simple re-direct or it makes no difference?
In the past i have used the .com but just re-directed the .co.uk and after a few years all has been well and good rankings in both G .com and .co.uk Things change with Google hence my questions and i have no real idea if what i did was correct (done some research) but it works for me in the end.
"If i read you right you are saying to run 2 sites, for me that's a issue with unique content..."
There are plenty of site like this (ex: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk) that have the same content. As long as you have the sites on servers in each specific country, I don't think Google will penalize you. As a matter of fact, (in this example) your .co.uk site will get much higher rankings under UK search then your .com site ever could.
"Because the .co.uk is brand new, and the .com listed in G for 4 years shall i just do a 301 on the .co.uk or place a holding page on the .co.uk for 2 weeks or so, get G to spider it and list a few pages, then re-point it towards the .com?
From my thinking is G going to see this better than a simple re-direct or it makes no difference?"
I'm not sure if it would make any difference, but I do know it will not hurt. You might even be able to game Google this way. Also work on getting a few links to the .co.uk site in the time being.
TP, that's great, thanks for the advice, i shall give this a go and keep you informed over time, thanks again.
Had a look at this in a bit more detail. Amazon .com and co.uk content is quite different, the front pages look similar but when you start drilling down into a product the content, the page outlay, links on that page etc are very different from .com and co.uk Maybe this is why they are getting results in G .com and .co.uk on same product pages.
Going back to unique content, i think Amazon are doing this to some large extent to achieve SE positions on G .com and .co.uk.
If i am going to run 2 sites then i can off the same platform but i will need to have different content and taylor the 2 sites to each country,(UK USA) as different products sell in each country. Plus the server issue.
I don't think its easy as having the same site in the UK.co.uk and duplicating that site in the US.com
|There are plenty of site like this (ex: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk) that have the same content. As long as you have the sites on servers in each specific country, I don't think Google will penalize you. |
I'd be careful giving such advice. Amazon is far too big and established to be penalized. In contrast, low-PR and/or new sites actually are often penalized for such duplicate content.
|In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. |
Penalties come mostly out of trying to game google by having duplicate content *within* the same site on different pages.
I do not believe that having a *.com on a server in the US and a *.co.uk on a server in the UK with similar content is going to trigger these filters.
Use top-level domains: To help us serve the most appropriate version of a document, use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content. We're more likely to know that www.example.de contains Germany-focused content, for instance, than www.example.com/de or de.example.com.
Google does not usually display both the US and UK version of the site in search results when the user is coming from the US. I never see .co.uk results for any searches I do unless its something very specific and/or there is no relevant US results.
Its all relative... US gets US site, UK gets UK site.
|Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. |
There is no deception here.
[edited by: TowerOfPower at 7:55 pm (utc) on April 26, 2009]
|I do not believe that having a *.com on a server in the US and a *.co.uk on a server in the UK with similar content is going to trigger these filters. |
|Its all relative... US gets US site, UK gets UK site. |
Incorrect again, taking your example there would be no international sites and this is plainly incorrect.
You are actually asking in the incorrect forum, you should be in search, especially Google Search, and you would learn a lot more by posting your questions there:
I can tell you right now that you have to be extremely careful regarding duplicate content and I should know I've been doing this since the mid 90s and run many .com .biz .info .co.uk .in .cn .it .eu .asia sites. There are some huge threads regarding duplicate content and what also may happen to you if you try to game the system...such as -950 penalty.
Geo-targetting also comes into play with Google's algo, for instance one of my always UK hosted and registered .coms at #1 in Google US is quite often #2 or 3 in Google UK since their algo deems the result they serve up as better.
I'm not saying it cannot be done with similar content, just do not expect to have identical/very similar information hosted under a .com in the US and under a .co.uk in the UK and expect them to rank #1 in their respective target markets.
If it were that easy, and many have already tried that, then everyone would be doing it.
|Incorrect again, taking your example there would be no international sites and this is plainly incorrect. |
I'm entirely open to the possibility that I'm completely wrong on the issue of duplicate content but I still believe that a co.uk site hosted on a UK-based server will get better rankings under google.co.uk over the US counterpart hosted in the US (on average example). A so will other co.uk sites in relevant searches going up against US based sites (on average example).
[edited by: TowerOfPower at 8:08 pm (utc) on April 27, 2009]
both url you can use
choose com or co.uk it's not very important
context is important
choose what you like !