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Country specific versions of a website - best practice
Different versions of a website

 2:33 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is mainly a general 'best practice' question.

We have built a Canadian version of a website. The original version was 'generic', but predominantly US based.

For the most part, the content will be very similar between the websites, although graphics and headings may change, for country specific marketing purposes (brand names, logos etc). A couple of pages may be dropped from the Canadian version and some (very little) 'newsy' content may vary between them.

At the new home page, visitors will now be asked to choose which site they wish to visit, but will not be prevented from viewing the other site if they wish.

The new website is in a sub-domain and is farily 'static' content wise.

Any general hints, recommendations or any potential issues with the above approach e.g. robots.txt setup, would be appreciated.




 2:53 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a good plan to me. If the bots can get both sections/countries, what downside is possible?

Though I wonder if a link the header/footer for "USA version" or "Canadian Version" might have some benefit for those that come to a page via a SE.


 2:59 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks tangor.

Actually, yes, we do plan to identify each site with their country.

I suppose I was mainly concerned about duplicate content. But talking now about SEs, it reminds me that the main domain is the one with all the inbound links and 'authority' (such as it is). But I supppose, it's just a question of marketing now, as regards the subdomain.

Although, I suppose people will still mainly link to the home page (which is on the top level domain).


 3:12 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

If some pages on each country site ARE duplicates... not sure how that will be viewed. I would tend to think that a site set to offer info, but in country/language fashion with get a break... though I do believe that something like English/German/spanish as the choices might have a better break than USA/CANADA/UK as there's really not a "language" barrier.


 3:27 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks. Yes, fair points.

I suppose in an ideal world SEs would automatically offer the local version to visitors by default - regardless as to where it is hosted and so on.

there's really not a "language" barrier

Heh, I know some editors who would get very upset by that. ;)

I tried using summarize, instead of summarise, in a UK magazine publishing house once...


 5:03 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I suppose I was mainly concerned about duplicate content.

in GWT, validate the canadian subdomain separately from the r.o.w./main(US) hostname.
set your geotarget for the canadian hostname and leave the generic hostname unset.
your canadian content should be filtered to the google.ca index and the rest will do what it can do in the US and elsewhere (google.com, etc).


 6:22 am on May 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

visitors will now be asked to choose

How will search engines exercise this choice (in order to index both versions)?


 12:21 pm on Jun 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

in GWT

Ah thanks. I'd completely forgotten about webmaster tools.

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