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Country Targeting: Subdomain, cc-TLD or folders

     
4:32 am on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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One of my client site say www.example.com is recognized as a brand in the targeted country. They are now deciding to expand their business and geographic targeting. Let me know which of the following would be better to target the business in different countries:

1. Using Sub-domains like us.example.com, uk.example.com, .....
2. Using ccTLD like www.example.us, www.example.co.uk, ......
3. Using folders like www.example.com/us/, www.example.com/uk/, .....

Also, are absolute URL's better than relative URL's? Which one should we opt for.

Thanks in Advance.

-Ankit

12:00 pm on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Best practice for geo-targeting is:
2. Using ccTLD like www.example.com (US), www.example.co.uk (UK), www.example.de (Germany) etc.

Second best practice:
1. Using Sub-domains like us.example.com, uk.example.com

12:51 pm on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thats what we intend to do, but are there any negative points for sub-domain compared with ccTLD?

Also, can we go with relative URL's?

1:04 pm on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A ccTLD is an explicit declaration of a site's target audience, so you're all but guaranteed to be targeting the appropriate local audience. A subdomain is more of an implict declaration - so you leave it to a search engine to figure out who you're targeting, which may not always work. Some numbers that may help illustrate the problem:

[site:co.uk](the web) [google.co.uk] - 238,000,000 results
[site:co.uk](pages from the UK ) [google.co.uk] - 215,000,000 results (90%)

[site:uk.*.com](the web) [google.co.uk] - 410,000 results
[site:uk.*.com](pages from the UK ) [google.co.uk] - 267,000 results (65%)

Note that "pages from the UK" will return US-hosted .co.uk sites - it doesn't depend on hosting location.

3:43 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Andy. This is really useful.