phranque - 12:23 am on Sep 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
i would suggest using subdomains and linking among the subdomains exactly as you would if you were using subdirectories.
use GWT manual geotargeting to specify the region you are targeting with each subdomain.
google considers GWT geotargeting as an equal strength signal to ccTLDs.
the second strongest signal is server location so i would host as many subdomains in-country as is practical.
They also want GeoIP so that, for example, users in the UK will be forwarded from domain.com (or any non-UK subdirectory) to domain.com/uk. As I understand, this is primarily for regulatory compliance, and they can't just let users choose which site they want to use.
how are you going to account for the foreign traveler or ex-pat situation?