sdgit - 11:59 pm on Sep 4, 2013 (gmt 0)
Great insights, thank you aakk9999.
You are correct about the proposed setup. The motivation for the 301 redirect and local IP address was speed - to allow for managed DNS (faster DNS resolution, DDoS mitigation) and load times. But your response makes clear that a redirect would erase any speed gained and cost that 15% link juice you mention.
One alternative might be to use reverse proxy at the primary host, so each country folder can be located on a separate server but still appear in the same URL and pass authority to the root domain. This setup implies DNS resolving to the primary host's IP, and then use a GeoIP service to send visitors to the appropriate folders. But this strategy is also 2 steps, so I wonder if it's equally slow?