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I'm completing the translation of my web site and trying to determine whether or not it would be better to simply place the entire translated site into a new folder on the already existing web site or register a domain dedicated to the site in the new language.
I can think of pros and cons for both strategies but it's hard to weigh them up and come to a clear decision on what is best.
a) A new domain offers linking possibilities from "outside" rather than "inside" and since the I.P. Address is totally different there is the additional advantage of seeming genuinely 3rd party.
b) A new domain provides safety in that should one domain go down I would still have the other.
c) A new domain on another server would not tax the first one.
a) A new domain would not get the benefit of 2 years of links and simply being recognized as an established domain.
b) A new domain might take longer to get indexed than putting pages into another folder on the first domain.
c) A new domain means additional expenses.
Up till now I've mostly (though not always) registered new domains for additional languages and seen that they work well together. Recently however I employed the strategy of keeping everything on one single domain in new folders and THAT site has had excellent results, hence I am undecided.
Basically the question for me is this:
Would it be better to keep the translated site on the main domain so that additional links from outside sources would benefit it or would it be better to 'divide the pie' so to speak and reinforce the 2 domains which would be working in harmony?
- Google likes larger sites so spreading your content to different sites could be a disadvantage.
Maybe this could work but I have never checked:
- Content is on www.domain.com/de ...
- www.domain.de is hosted in Germany but has as 301-redirect on www.domain.com/de
Marcia, I've already got another domain with the site in Spanish, I am now going after the Italian market. I don't understand what you mean by specific tld, do you mean the extension (.com, .net, .it)? If this is what you are refering to all the other sites I've translated have remained with .com extensions and have been properly indexed in Google even for searches in the specific language.
Google likes larger sites so spreading your content to different sites could be a disadvantage
zgb - this is an important consideration for me and one I have not been able to determine the significance of. I agree, Google does seem to like bigger sites, but then having another domain linking to the main site has its advantages too.
tenerifejim - what do you mean by "local url redirect"?
SlyOldDog - keeping the sites updated IS a nightmare, even the main site in English. In any event it requires translating and creating new pages in other languages whether they are on the same server/domain or not. What I'd like to determine from others with similar experiences is whether or not keeping all translations on the same domain is more beneficial than establishing new domains for the other languages.
In either case the visitor could pass from english to italian or vice versa by clicking on a button. It's not a question of navigation for me, it's a question of what will be the most beneficial in terms of SERPs and attracting visitors.
All the the advantages point to putting them on one domain
What are the advantages you see to putting both languages on one domain?
Possibility of authoratative links in several languages make your domain more of an authority overall... even a good german link will thus benefit the italian section of a domain.
Increase in regular and deeper crawling -- though this will likely be negative if we are talking about a domain over 10,000 pages.
No risks in terms of "seeming genuinely 3rd party". You are not doing anything that a search engine would look negatively on. Creating a bunch of dinky domains raises the possibility, however remote, of attracting a crosslinking penalty. If an engine thinks, "hmm, this seemingly is NOT genuine" then you made a problem which had no positive side.
Get genuine links and make an authoritative domain useful to citizens of world who speak many languages. Having several languages that get at least some links to the sections is a powerful signal of authoritative value all by itself.
Just look at it as a user or a search engine, this domain cares enough about its content to make it available in several languages. Assuming non-machine translations, how can this single fact not make a person or a search engine at least a little (and probably a lot) more confident in the value of the domain's content?
Take what genuine signals of quality you can get.
So depending on the competitiveness of the keywords your visitors are using it might still be worth having a country tld. Ask somebody in Italy to send you a printscreen of the SERPS for some important keywords and compare them with the SERPs you are seeing. Like that you can see how much your keywords depend on local sites.
Good point Steve, and it appears that Google prefers "authoritive" sites at this point in time.
Although this is certainly an advantage for a few months it doesn't matter to me as I am not concerned about increasing visits immediately (I already have my hands full) but rather long term.
Increase in regular and deeper crawling
Another good point I had not considered which allows for better feedback when applying changes. The site has only about 100 pages, so deep crawling would not be a problem nor would it tax the server much more as the site is light.
No risks in terms of "seeming genuinely 3rd party"
True, but again I am not concerned about it. I am confident that the original content will be appreciated by the great Google in the sky.
"this domain cares enough about its content to make it available in several languages"
I like the concept here, it might apply in other ways too.
Thanks for your input.
Any ideas on benefits to having another domain?
Are you claiming that if I search on google.it in California that a person performing the same search on google.it in Rome will get completely different results (both with "Cerca solo le pagine in Italiano" checked)? I don't believe that since my statistics show my .com's hosted in the USA getting lots of .it, .de, .es traffic.
I never compared results with google.it but I can confirm that the same querry gives different results on google.com than it gives on google.ch if it is a Swiss site hosted in Switzerland.
Also if I use google.ch through anonymizer (using a US IP) I get the same SERP as if I use google.com (beeing not the same SERPS as if I go to google.ch surfing from within Switzerland.
So location seems to play a role. Maybe only a minor one (I haven't seen completely different results so far) but the SERPs are different.