Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am planning on implementing a website which has regional homepage variants. For Example:

  • mycompany.com/europe
  • mycompany.com/us

The rest of the site is region agnostic and content will continue such as:

  • mycompany.com/news
  • mycompany.com/about-us
  • etc

For homepage (.com) requests, I plan on redirecting users to the correct homepage variant (via 301). If I cannot determine the correct one, I will fallback to redirecting them to the US homepage (/us).

From an SEO point of view, firstly is this ok? or should I be doing anything additional to this for making search engines aware of the regional differences? As crawlers are region agnostic, I plan on directing them to the US page with a 301, or should I have something on the .com page which they use?

Being that the regional homepage's will likely be the most visited pages, they should show up in result sitelinks when searching for mycompany (which I think is a good thing).

Apologies for the slightly open question - I know anything SEO related is more opinion/best practice than fact but am purely looking for advice.

share|improve this question
    
caraytech.com/geodns There are MANY other ways to implement this, some ways are better than others, but others are easier to set up. I suggest doing more research for finding a suitable solution based on your needs. –  ionFish Mar 6 '12 at 18:59
    
Wouldn't you want your us site to be .com since you're based here? Google doesn't have you go to Google.com/us for the US site right? That also opens up the issue of duplicate content. Not major issue but your .com would that be the same as .com/us? Then you have to set canonical attributes and in webmaster tools you wouldn't be able to set .com/us as your main domain. I would build your US site first focus on getting it ranking then figure out the best route to creating international sites. If your company name is unique enough just register foreign domains. –  Anagio Mar 7 '12 at 12:28
    
Thanks all - just to clarify - this is not a multilingual site and the only region specific pages will be the homepage(s) They will details things like news and events which are more appropriate to the region. Beneath these there will be no other pages. There will be some other logic like displaying a phone and telephone number local to the user around the rest of the website but that is essentially as far as the regional variations will extend. –  Adam Jenkin Mar 7 '12 at 16:49

2 Answers 2

First of all, you should use a 302 redirect for this, not 301. With a 301 redirect, you're telling search engines that your home page has moved permanently and that they should delist the original URL and instead list it under the target URL. A 302 redirect, on the other hand, is temporary: it tells search engines (and users) that they should go to another page for the content, but that the original URL is still the one they should keep in their index.

Second, you should follow Google's guidelines for multi-regional sites. In particular, I'd suggest using rel=alternate link tags to link your regional pages together, so that e.g. mycompany.com/europe might have the tag:

<link rel="alternate" href="/us" hreflang="en-US" />

while mycompany.com/us would have the tag:

<link rel="alternate" href="/europe" hreflang="en-EU" />

This should let Google know that those two pages are, in fact, regional variants of the same page. (Note: EU is an ISO 3166-1 exceptionally reserved code for the European Union. I don't know if Google actually recognizes it as a proper region code, but it's probably worth a try, at least.)

You may also want to include on all the regional main pages the tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="/" />

This tag will, in effect, tell Google that it shouldn't index the regional pages at all, but should just treat any links pointing to them as if they pointed to the main page. (Google might still show the regional variants specified via rel=alternate links in regionally tailored search results; I haven't really tested this properly, and their documentation hints at it but doesn't seem to outright say so.) Of course, you should only do this if the regional pages are essentially identical in content; if they each contain some unique content that users might want to search for, rel=canonical is probably not the right solution.

share|improve this answer
1  
If the regional homepages are in different languages and/or have different news items, then I would avoid canonical--especially considering that search engines will probably match users with the correct localization more accurately than any geo-IP or other user-locale-guessing mechanism you can implement. By de-indexing the localized URLs, you eliminate this possibility. –  Lèse majesté Apr 6 '12 at 14:20
1  
@Lèse majesté: Indeed, +1. Google directly says so in their documentation, and I tried to make that clear in my answer too, but it's really something that can't be stressed too much. Never use rel=canonical unless the content really is identical. –  Ilmari Karonen Apr 6 '12 at 14:42

There are a couple of questions which answer some of the SEO points you raise.

I would say that your users will probably be confused by this strategy, and probably Google into the bargain, as I don't believe the bot will recognise your website as being multilingual.

I would suggest you use the ISO country codes in your urls e.g. example.com/en/ or en.example.com and keep the users within that url space while browsing, this is less confusing if they selected an alternate language on the homepage and will allow to to more easily expand your translated content in the future.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.