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Thread: Separate domains or multilingual site: what is better from SEO point of view?

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    keryanjames is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    Separate domains or multilingual site: what is better from SEO point of view?

    Hello!

    From another thread, I was advised to aim several languages in order to raise the revenues of my website. So my first idea in order to achieve that goal was to look for a Wordpress plugin that could handle the multilingual aspect. But it seems that having several languages on the same domain was not SEO friendly. For example, I was wondering what will appear in the list of Google searches?
    It seems that the best way would be to have separate domains but that implies double effort in terms of content (no problem with that, the translation will be done manually), but most importantly, in terms of SEO optimization. The second domain will begin from 0, meaning that it can not take advantage from the existing website.

    Could you please give me your opinion on that matter?

    Thank you in advance!
    Mike Dammann likes this.

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    If you are going to focus on multiple geographic locations, the best solution would to physically host a site in each geographic market using the local ccTLD domain and in the native language.

    In other words, if France is one of your targeted markets, host the site in France (the site needs a French IP address), register the domain using the .fr ccTLD, and provide the content in French. All of those are signals that Google uses to give preferential treatment to a site's rank positions in the targeted market. Matt Cutts has said that different translations are not considered to be duplicate content.

    Google’s Matt Cutts Talks Duplicate Content And Different Languages | WebProNews

    One other piece of advice, do not use an automatic translation tool to translate the site. That never works well. You will need to have each language version translated by a native language speaker. All translation software translates languages at a very low level that looks amateurish and poorly done to a native speaker. I have worked on sites where we using a translation service and even those services did a poor job unless they were located in the targeted market. The secret to a good translation is to use native speakers in the targeted country.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    keryanjames is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    TopDogger, thank you very much for your answer. I will go for a domain specific to a region. Concerning the translation, I can assure you that I will never use an automatic tool, the result is horrible.

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    the site needs a French IP address
    That's annoying! But it is an obvious indicator of a legitimate French-based business I guess?

    For sure, automatic translation is near useless. I do it to try to understand some Facebook comments in a foreign language, and the automatic translation rarely makes sense.

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy101 View Post
    That's annoying! But it is an obvious indicator of a legitimate French-based business I guess?
    Yeah, that is one of the ways that Google uses to segment the geographic location for a business. A site hosted in France has a search advantage in Google.fr.

    The USA market is unusual in that using a .us ccTLD does not give a site an advantage.

    I have run into situations where USA clients with local businesses came to me because their sites did not show up in Google searches and they were getting almost zero business from their traffic. They were getting traffic, but not very much USA traffic. In two situations, I found that the site was hosted in Canada and in another it was hosted in France (don't fall for the VistaPrint hosting deal). None of the clients had any idea that their sites were hosted outside of the USA. The sites started to rank well in the USA a few months after moving them to USA hosting companies.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    Yeah, that is one of the ways that Google uses to segment the geographic location for a business. A site hosted in France has a search advantage in Google.fr.

    The USA market is unusual in that using a .us ccTLD does not give a site an advantage.

    I have run into situations where USA clients with local businesses came to me because their sites did not show up in Google searches and they were getting almost zero business from their traffic. They were getting traffic, but not very much USA traffic. In two situations, I found that the site was hosted in Canada and in another it was hosted in France (don't fall for the VistaPrint hosting deal). None of the clients had any idea that their sites were hosted outside of the USA. The sites started to rank well in the USA a few months after moving them to USA hosting companies.

    one of my site with US host but cctld, it work out very well, but i dunno if i host locally, how much different would it ??
    base on google webmaster tool, i can't change location.

    For TS :
    create multiple site would bring extra benefit like :
    1. Internal (own network) link building. (i always put my sub site RSS on my main site, it work well for google).
    2. Use same theme for all site and language option on top, so when user click different language, they won't realize it already gone to url.

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    keryanjames is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    SonnyCool, the benefits you pointed out are indeed good. I will put flags on each websites with a link to the home page of the respective site. Nice!

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    ovalencia is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    Remember to set up each domain on the same google webmasters account, there is a video where I see this issue
    Pisco - One of my websites
    SEO blog - My personal blog

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    Another thing to consider may be URL forwarding from the foreign country domain host. This would be cheap compared to having monthly hosting in the various countries. So your domain is associated with the country IP but is only subject to a yearly domain renewal fee.

    For SEO, you may be able to set up a frame (in your domain admin area) around your dot com site so that the country-specific domain has some meta data such as the title and description (to maybe make the IP carry some weight) rather than an immediate 301 (permanent site relocation) redirect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy101 View Post
    Another thing to consider may be URL forwarding from the foreign country domain host. This would be cheap compared to having monthly hosting in the various countries. So your domain is associated with the country IP but is only subject to a yearly domain renewal fee.

    For SEO, you may be able to set up a frame (in your domain admin area) around your dot com site so that the country-specific domain has some meta data such as the title and description (to maybe make the IP carry some weight) rather than an immediate 301 (permanent site relocation) redirect.
    I don't think this will work.

    If you use a 302 redirect (temporary) with URL forwarding, you create a mirror site, which would likely result in a penalty for duplicate content.

    If you use a 301 redirect (permanent) with URL forwarding, you do not duplicate the site, but it will not show up in search results for the redirected domain. A 301 replaces it with the site that you are redirecting to. Google will still see the IP for the site that the redirected domain is pointed to.

    iframes do not work because Google does not recognize the content in an iframe as being part of the framing site. It does not show up when you view the code for the iframe page. All you would have is the title tag and description meta tag to work with. I sometimes use iframes, but I add unique content to the page with the iframe.

    From what I have seen, the only way to do this effectively is to host a site in the target country and use the local ccTLD.

    If someone has found another way to make this work, please post your solution.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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