Well for Aus, since it's in English already I wanted to see if I could just use the same content I have under my .com. I was also going to do this for UK & Canada.
However, for .de, .fr, .ru, etc. I was going to duplicate my website and add the content for the language of that country.
So if I were to just redirect domain.co.uk to uk.domain.com it would have no effect on SEO?
If I started getting back-links, for example on UK websites pointing to domain.co.uk and then this would redirect to uk.domain.com; is there any benefit in doing so? Or should I just get back-links to uk.domain.com?
Well for the different language domains I will be using them because I need to duplicate the site in that language.
However, I'm on the fence if that is necessary for the English speaking countries.
I guess for SEO it boils down to actually receiving back-links from websites in those countries pointing to my domain. So I guess it wouldn't really matter if I use "domain.com.au", "domain.com", or "au.domain.com" as long as I'm receiving relevant back-links from that country?
Another reason I would like to register these ccTLDs is to avoid someone else registering my "brand name" in these other countries. If this were to happen can I fight to gain ownership of these domains since they are using my "brand name"?
Well, for the .au specific example, you probably can't get it - with a few exemptions, you have to be a registered business here before you are eligible for a .au domain. More generally, if you are actually trying to attract an Australian market you're better using the .au domain as we have successfully taught our audience that '.au = quality and genuine australian'. They know that 'fake aussie domains' have something suspicious about them. Cant speak for other CCTLDs, though