joined:June 26, 2008
First of all, my apologies if this is in the wrong forum. I couldn't figure out exactly what forum this would belong to as there seems to be no general SEO boards.
I currently run a network of websites (UK, US, ZA, FR, DE, ES, MX) and each website has roughly the same content in its local language.
For the UK, ZA and US, the content is identical.
FR, DE ES are translated and are unique.
MX is the same as ES.
Aside from language differences, the differences between the websites are basically limited to contact details.
Each website also has a parts database of over 300,000 parts which are all in English and are identical on every website.
So, I guess we have a lot of repeating (canonical?) content across the network.
Five years ago, when I built the network, using ccTLDs seemed the right thing to do on the following grounds:
- Google could better associate ccTLDs with the target market.
- Target markets would trust their local link more than a .com.
- If I had used one website with multiple languages Google would always see it in English based on the fact crawling would be done out of the US.
I'm not sure of how much of that is still relevant or was true at the time, but I've been out of the game for a while. In the last 5 years, I have been programming and building web applications. So my understanding of global SEO has stagnated and it wasn't the best to begin with....
Finally, all the sitemaps are submitted to Google and other search engines and I've noticed Google favours others more.
Between all the websites, we have 500,000 indexed pages, which has dropped from 1.2m in the last 2/3 years.
So, my question is, given what I've mentioned, what would folks say would be the best method today? Continue as we are, but with an updated website network? Or make the move to a single, translatable, website with a shared database?
Obviously I would 301 all my old content.