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One translatable website or many ccTLDs?

     
9:31 am on Sep 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

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.

Preamble:

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.

Thank you!

Tom.
10:16 am on Sept 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If I search from France for French language queries, preference is given by Google and Bing and the other search engines to content in French, hosted in France, of a French ( dot fr ) TLD..

Google automatically defaults to prioritising content in French hosted in France..when searched from Google.fr..

All Android devices in France only have Google.fr available to them if they were purchased in France..

For your French content at least..stick with a separate domain , content in French on a dotFR..preferably hosted in France..

HTH ..
2:39 pm on Sept 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

Thank you - really appreciate the local input!

Tom.
2:50 pm on Sept 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You are welcome..
Just tested Bing..( which has a very small number of users in France as opposed to Google's 97% market share here ) also defaults to prioritising content in French hosted in France.. although one can reach Bing.com from mobile devices, Bing.fr is their default..

AFAIK the situation in Germany is very similar re Google and Bing..best to keep content in German on dotDE for there too..
I don't use Google or Bing in Spanish sufficiently to give an informed opinion on .ES..

There are some members from Spain here..perhaps they'll see the thread and give you their input..

Ps Bear in mind that some hosters who claim that they are hosting you in say France or Germany..will actually be hosting you from the U.S.A for at least 50% of the time..looking at you => 1&1..
11:26 am on Sept 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I know Germany is very similar as we had issues there before.

Thank you again for the feedback!
8:58 am on Sept 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Bump - any and all feedback is welcome!
3:31 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Bump!
3:47 pm on Oct 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Additional bumps will likely result in the same:

Localized language versions will probably do well for some time to come.

If, for management reasons, corporate (meaning business decisions) a single website with a language selection choice, makes more sense, then do that. Only have to look at the "majors" (HP, etc) to see that also works quite well.