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Doing both however sounds like a good way to run into duplication issues.
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.
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.
[edited by: heini at 10:44 am (utc) on Mar. 4, 2004]
[edit reason] please don't post your urls, thanks! [/edit]
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).
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.
I have just checked one of our multi-lingual sites - a .com hosted on a UK server.
(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.