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I manage a domain which is an umbrella domain - it is used in marketing/advertising a product around the world. When users visit the domain the site re-directs them to a sub-domain specifically for their territory.

No one territory is more important than another, and they show different content (all relating to the same product, but different sites) in their subdomains.

Currently, when Google crawls the main page (because Googlebot is in the US) it sees the US site. This isn't ideal as people searching from outside the US get the US site in their search results.

I am thinking that I should make a generic page just for search engines which shows links to all the territory subdomains, so that no-one sees the wrong content in google's results.

However Google's guidance states:

Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."

and also

Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

from Google webmaster guidelines

So - would I be doing the right thing with my search engine only page?

Thanks.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think you have a lot of solutions to solve this issue and these are some:

  • Simply report your domains/subdomains to Google with Google Webmaster tools and with the use of sitemaps
  • Put in every homepage of your domains/subdomains a little div which has the links to the other country's domains/subdomains. This solution will be useful also in this case: A man who is english is connected from France (or his browser, for some reason, is setted to french as locale). Now your website is going to redirect him to the french version but it should redirect the user to the us/en version. Thanks to the div, he could go to the right website.
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I agree with everything Auerlio says, though it's worth mentioning that the problem may well solve itself as the site grows and acrues backlinks in different languages to the different versions of the site. –  Anonymous Oct 10 '11 at 10:10

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