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European Search Engines Forum

Multi-lingual site submission - Domain extension
Relevance of domain where language is concerned

 10:03 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

With a single site running in multiple language, what are the merits of setting up country specific domains for each language version as opposed to a single .com with all the languages in one place, or should we do both? Views please. Countries in question, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, UK and Netherlands.



 10:15 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

The adavantages of setting up dedicated domains for each target market are twofold: for the user you create trust and confidence. For the search engines you make sure you appear to be a local entity, you make it easy for them to properly recognize your languages, and you can legitimately crosslink.
On the other hand you might want to build one, huge site, not a network of sites. In this case I would recommend going with a .com, and setting up languages as subdomains. Some of the large portals operate this way.

Doing both however sounds like a good way to run into duplication issues.


 4:58 pm on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you


 3:37 pm on Feb 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is a tricky subject... the following is a review of the restrictions on local market SERPS for Google's local markets ...

If you look at Google Germany, searchers have 3 choices -- "Global" "German Language" and "Germany" --

Global -- this is everything around the world all scored equally without regards to domain. However, we have seen some local weighting to pages that are have local domains.

German Language -- in this case, the domain is less relevant as long as there is German language content on the site. Non German language pages will not be shown.

Country -- Especially in Google's case, they use local domain "site.de" as the primary criteria or local market "ip address" as the secondary criteria when there is not a local domain.

Sites I have worked on have seem as much as 50% of their search traffic coming from the country specific search so if you have something to offer people interested in content related to Spain or Germany only I would recommend the local domains.


 8:38 pm on Feb 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

This figure of 50% seems to be a bit high. While the figures for searches restricted to "results from country X" have grown substantially over the last year I wouldn't put them higher than say 5 to 10% max, depending on topic areas and keywords.

But then - 5-10% is something, add AOL to that which defaults to results from country and you have some good arguments for local domains, not even taking the still somewhat unresolved question of a special bonus for local domains in regular results into account.


 12:41 pm on Feb 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Imo it depends what sort of site you got.
If I am looking for local information, a local shop or want to buy it locally I tend to use “country search”, simply because I want something from/within Austria and do not want to get to a German site.


 10:38 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've checked last week and, for the sites reviewed (only UK market), I found:
Google.com: 0.56
Google.co.uk: 0.44
Inside Google.co.uk: Search The Web: 0.48
pages from the UK: 0.52
I found similar result for Yahoo.co.uk (25%)
Anybody with figures to compare?

[edited by: heini at 10:44 am (utc) on Mar. 4, 2004]
[edit reason] please don't post your urls, thanks! [/edit]


 10:52 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Johann, welcome to WebmasterWorld!
I'm not sure if I read your message correctly, in any case it's worth pointing out that the UK is a whole different ballgame than continental Europe. Why? Language.

In the UK the only means to restrict searches is the results from UK option, in non english speaking countries the more natural choice is the results from language option.


 11:33 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Heini,
I do understand the issue you're rising, as I was born and bred on the continent. I just thought datas from the uk would be a good start, and that it would be very intresting to compare it with data from the continent; that is if somebody from fr, de, es.. has been recently playing around with the logs..


 11:47 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>datas from the uk would be a good start
Sure, thanks! the first post was asking for the UK among other counries.
I mostly pointed this out as there is a lot of confusion among many webmasters about what exactly the difference is between results from a country and results from a language, and how this obviously makes a dramatic difference in how to handle UK sites and other European sites.
For targeting the UK market it's a must to have UK TLD and or hosting, for other European countries the language is the first priority, local TLD and hosting second.


 12:33 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>European countries the language is the first priority

Yep, with maybe the exception of France, where results in pages francophones are a mix of France, Belgium, quebec.. results. (same for germany and austria, mit seiten auf Deutsch..). There's probably other exemples around..


 8:36 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

[Country -- Especially in Google's case, they use local domain "site.de" as the primary criteria or local market "ip address" as the secondary criteria when there is not a local domain.]

hi globalseo

if google finds it, the following is the primary criteria: (in this example the german language)
<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="de">
this results in a german listing only! and prevents the site beeing listed in other serps (in other languages).


 8:41 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

jazzx, there appears to be some misunderstanding here. For the searches restricted to results from a country the language is not a factor at all. Only the domain and the IP are taken into consideration.
The language is the decisive factor in results from a language, obviously.
In any case Google uses automatic language detection, so that if you have that meta tag or not, Google will determine the language anyway.


 9:12 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

[i was refering to your post: the more natural choice is the results from language option...]

of course you're right about the country...
as for language; google might be using automatic language detection, ok.
- but if you do not include this meta tag - the site comes up in different languages as well.


 12:42 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I started this discussion, so now an update!

I have just checked one of our multi-lingual sites - a .com hosted on a UK server.

In google.de
(a) "Das Web" - lists a French page (but not its German equivalent), even though it is tagged Language="fr". It is full of German text. How strange!
(b) "Seiten auf Deustch" - lists a different German page, not Language tagged but full of German text.
(c) "Seiten aus Deutschland". As expected, nothing at all.

I will set up a .de site and put the same site on it, and monitor what happens. This will take a while. I may be back.

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