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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.
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.
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?
Germany and Austria even if they have the same language they will be different
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.
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[edited by: tedster at 8:30 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2006]