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Duplicate content issues when internationalizing

Question regarding duplicate content issues between internationalized pages

1:01 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Nov 27, 2005
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Hi all,

I run a small ecommerce site that does well in the organic US SERPs on all major search engines. However, we get a decent amount of sales from non-US traffic, due to our English AdWords ads which, apparently, show up in the foreign Google SERPs regardles of whether a user has opted to search only pages in their language or country. Obviously, we don't show up anywhere in the foreign language SERPs.

Given that studies have shown that click through rates are generally higher on the organic listings than in PPC ads, and considering the fact that we'd likely target a vast non English-speaking audience, I am considering "internationalizing" our site, but starting with the UK market first. My plan is to host a version of our site at a UK-based host on a .co.uk domain. One concern I have is that I really don't think that the differences between UK English & American English are great enough (especially given our product database) such that they would be considered unique content. My question then, is whether moving a nearly exact copy of our site to a new domain on a UK-located server might incur duplicate content penalties of some sort, which would either prevent the UK site from ever ranking for our primary terms or, worse, end up hurting our original US site?

Thanks in advance for any insight you may have.

- reesh

3:22 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 23, 2000
votes: 1

Hi reesh,
Welcome to the Euro forum.

You raise a valid point here and certainly one to take seriously.

>might incur duplicate content penalties

You got that right. Just copying your old site to another domain - even though it might be co.uk - you're probably in for at dupe penalty as the 2 sites are exactly the same.

Imo there is no easy way around it but to build a new UK site with unique content and it's own life.

However the good part is that you don't run into dupe issue translating your site to other languages. Might want to start with German or Spanish?

Good luck! :)

[edited by: Rumbas at 3:23 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2007]

12:31 pm on Feb 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:May 30, 2002
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Obviously, we don't show up anywhere in the foreign language SERPs.

Actually, for international Googles like Spain, France, etc. this is not true - you'll be showing up in the SERPs as long as the user doesn't opt for the local language or country options, which are not even the default options.

"Translating" to UK English without duplicate content is going to be almost impossible unless you re-word the entire site.