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Planning of an extensive localization policy

Localization policy local domains

4:26 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hello everybody!
We are building a global directory. The real subject of this directory does not matter for this issue, so let's just say a global Hotels directory to get an idea. Just to summarize the content of this directory let's divide it into 3:
1- The homepage,
2- The information pages: the Contact us page, Why choose us page, etc (total of around 10 pages).
3- the listings: with a description of the hotels in 4-5 different languages. This is constituted by 5 different pages for each hotel respectively for "description" "How to reach us" etc. All the listing pages have the same layout.

Now, we are planning to have an extensive local approach so that customer from everywhere in the world can find us, and we can rank high in local searches. At the same time we want to fully comply with all Google rules.
Recently I have bumped into this forum and after a long search and after long reading, I came up with a plan structured as follow:

I would like to distribute the content into 12 local domain names, 1 for international and 11 for specific countries. For each type of page previously mentioned I would follow a different approach:
1- The content of the Homepage (not the layout/graphic), will be changed for EACH culture so, as an example, Germany and Austria even if they have the same language they will be different. So 1 different homepage will be indexed for each domain in Google.
2- The Info pages: They will be translated into 5 languages. For each language the info pages will be indexed ONLY for the main domain of a certain language so, as an example, the .de domain will have these pages indexed and the .at pages will all have "NOINDEX" in the meta tag so that Google doesn't spider them.
3- The listings instead will be indexed for each language in which they are provided, in the example of ".it" (Italy) all the italian version of the listings will be indexed in Google under the ".it" domain. In the case there is more than one domain with the same language we will decide a certain percentage of pages of that language that will go to each domain to avoid repetitive content (Example again Austria/Germany). This will depend on the relative importance of the country.

I believe that getting this right first it is very important so this is why I am spending a lot of time over this. so I would like to receive comments on this, what do you think? How would you improve it? do you agree with my approach? etc.
One main alternative is to just do a redirection for all the domains to ".Com" and just use one domain. With this approach we would have a much much stronger ".Com" domain but no local domains listed.. Do you think this is better or not?
I hope this can be useful to the lively forum community here, and that we can have an interesting debate over this that I consider a very important issue.

8:55 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Welcome to the forums, franson.

You've clearly done your homework. I'd say that's a well thought out plan. I will think a bit more bout it and post if I have suggestions for improvement. And as is usual in the tech world, the devil may be in the detils and in how well you can execute.

10:50 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks tedster.
I am glad you agreed with my strategy. And yes in the end implementation of it is the Key.. it will be more effort but I believe(at the moment) that it might be worth it.
Anyone else's opinion?

I still have some doubts as I have also just found an issue. The loss of inbound links to URLs that are not actually indexed in google. Let's say one Url is indexed for the .de and not for the .at, and the inbound link is to the .at I would lose a precious link because of this :( . Or am I wrong on this?

10:48 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Come on.. any more comments? :)
11:59 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree, your strategy looks better for local searches than redirecting all domains to the .com

Germany and Austria even if they have the same language they will be different

How different will these pages be? Making them different will prevent "duplicate content" penalty, but make sure they are different enough (not just few words) to avoid "similar content" penalty.
12:37 pm on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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how would you do it if search engines didn't exist? I suspect that you'd put the site into a single .com site? One of the nice things about a single site is that all links will be concentrated into a single domain instead of having 12 relatively weak domains.
5:27 pm on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes the homepage will be different, they will be optimized for different keywords, so we will try to not fall into the similar content problem. However, structure and graphic will be the same, so I hope the similar content penalty will not kick in because of this. Does the similar "content" keywords counts only the content or also template?

Jack_Hughes said: how would you do it if search engines didn't exist?

Well nobody would find me so I wouldn't do a website in the first place :). However, if there was a chance to find me I would do definitely a big .com.
The idea of this local approach has come up after searching for the same keywords on different local google websites ( you are automatically redirected to them now too..).

One particular example that I report here was the one that really got me in this direction: searching <keyword removed> in google.at and in google.com gives a REALLY big head starts to <a particular domain> that jumps from last in page 11 to 1st in 1st page.. how do you explain this?

So even if people don't search for "websites from a certain country" there is too much of a favour to local websites, and this led me to this choice...

<Sorry, no specific kws or websites.
See Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]>

[edited by: tedster at 8:30 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2006]


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