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I currently work at a pretty big website that has visitors from around the globe. My job is to help out on the SEO, and one thing we've been discussing lately is the use of international TLD's. The ones we use range between:

  • (partly) translated websites like .es and .de that serve most of the content in the country's language
  • non-translated (english) websites for non-english languages (due to a lack of translations) like .ro and .cz
  • english websites for english speaking countries with localized TLD's (.co.nz, .co.uk)

On one hand I really have the feeling this is causing a lot of duplicate content, especially for the last two categories of TLD's.

On the other hand though it seems a lot like country-specific TLD's tend to score a lot better in that country's Google. Would it be advisable to keep on using these domains, or should we canonicalize them all to the .com version?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think:

the translated websites like .es and .de are NOT duplicate content at all if you translate also the part that is not translated yet

All the others (written in English and therefor I suppose identical) are definitely duplicated contents on different TLDs, so according to Google guidelines they should all be redirected 301 to one single TLD (maybe .com here).

Another option for the English websites is to change the contents of the pages like what this one did:

http://www.webhostingbuzz.com/

http://www.webhostingbuzz.co.uk/

They are offering almost the same services (similar contents), but the websites are DIFFERENT, what is written is different even if they look similar due to graphic colors.

If you are asking me if this can be considered black hat seo I don't know and i wouldn't be so sure to report this on Google Webmaster Spam Report for at leats 2 reasons:

  1. if you look carefully at their websites they are offering less services in UK, so it's not differnt contents just because it's written using synonyms, but it's really differnt contents
  2. moreover the co.uk site is on a server in Europe which make sense because it's faster for European to access such a server compared to one in US.
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I would agree with Demaio that translated content is not duplicated content. For the english content under different TLDs, the easiest way would indeed be to do 301 redirects to your main site. Another possibility is to use the canonical-url metatag. It defines one URL you want the content to be listed under. E.G. these URLs:

  • www.content.com/page1
  • www.content.org/page1
  • www.content.net/page1
  • www.content.net/page1?param

could share the canonical URL like www.content.com/page1, under which your content would be found. That also works for duplicate content under one TLD, of course.

More info here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html

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