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We own the .com version but have done nothing with it so far. We're considering making the .com our primary url so we can have .com/fr, .com/de etc. Do we go for .com/uk? If we were to do this how might we handle the existng .co.uk domain and do it in such a way so as to cause minimum impact on its current ranking?
[edited by: eelixduppy at 6:09 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2008]
Given your situation, I'd probably launch the .com on a U.S. hosting account. If possible, I would do so with different content from the current .co.uk site (in most cases there would be natural differences between a UK site's language (locations, dialect, site info/address/etc). In the UK, the established .co.uk site should outrank the .com for a long time even if content is very similar.
Then you can run the worldwide site that also carries all of the different language versions on the .com.
And, if you do at some point see rankings issues/confusion in the UK, you could then 301 the UK site over to the .com.
However for the rest of the 200-odd pages in English (GB), it wouldn't be possible - not enough scope for dialect difference (US v GB english). Silly example - a tom"ahhh"to (GB) is still a tomato (US) :-)
Scenario: under the .co.uk home page we have 10 level 1 "product group" pages. Not enough scope for adapting these to US english and making the content sufficiently different.
We would have to link the .com home page to the .co.uk product group pages, which then take you further into the .co.uk site.
Does that then become a potential issue in your view? Or is it that we should be thinking about .com home, linking to .com/en, which redirects to .co.uk product group pages? And now I think I may be over-complicating it all!
Many thanks for the input, its appreciated.
Then in the U.S., Google.com should, as your .com site ages and gains links, begin to show your .com pages in the U.S. SERP's. It will help if, as I said, the UK site is hosted in the UK and the .com is hosted in the U.S.
So differentiate the en language pages to the extent you can and after that, don't worry about it. You're not trying to pull a fast one here; Google doesn't want to penalize for things like this, they simply try to select the preferred set of pages to show in each geo area.
My other point was if over time, the .com site gains enough authority that it does start to cause confusion in the UK SERP's, you could at that point 301 the .co.uk site's pages to the .com's pages, but I would definitely not even think about that for now.