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Issue: Currently my site has one particular page which has country specific data. So I've URLs like :

mysite.com/sale-united-states
mysite.com/sale-united-kingdom
mysite.com/sale-sweden

etc.

All these pages have 80-90% common content and 10-20% country specific content. currently all these pages canonically point to mysite.com/sale-united-states.

The problem is when someone searches for "sale Sweden", Google correctly shows mysite.com/sale-united-states page, which does not feel correct as it shows US page instead of Sweden.

Now I'm thinking of not using canonical url so that country specific urls are produced in Google saerch. But I'm not sure how 80% duplicate content is going to affect SEO? What should be the recommended approach for this situation?

A friend of mine suggested a "separate subdomain per country" based approach but it seems overkill for one page.

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2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The best solution would be to just have one single URL without the country in it, and allow the user to change it. For example the URL could be mysite.com/sale.

You could first auto-detect the country using geolocation, storing that as a "preference" in a cookie. Provide a dropdown for USA/UK/Sweden that sets the cookie to the different country. Then on each page load check for the cookie and display the correct localizations.

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Couple of doubts : 1. It's very important that country name is displayed in SERP page. So do you think, country name would be indexed from country select box? So if I search for "sale Sweden", both the words should be bold on search result page. 2. Since there would be one page and lets say crawler crawled from US then US based data would be indexed only. What would happen to other 20% Sweden specific data which would never be indexed? –  user131003 Aug 23 '12 at 16:25
    
Yes you make some good points. I assumed the country-specific stuff was very minor. I'll try and think of any other solutions and edit my answer. –  DisgruntledGoat Aug 24 '12 at 0:37
    
Google also suggests subdomain kind of approach. But not sure what exactly I should do for just one page. support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… –  user131003 Aug 24 '12 at 2:36
    
seems like last example on following page could be the answer. what do you think DisgruntledGoat? support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… –  user131003 Aug 24 '12 at 4:56
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One way to resolve the duplicate content issue would be to place the duplicate content on a single, seperate page and then embed this in an iframe on each of the country specific pages; google registers content in an iframe as a separate window and as it is only physically located on one page it won't register as duplicate contnet.

I would suggest reading this artical about Duplicate content

It explains that if duplicate content is detected google will likely choose only one of these pages to display and therefore there still wouldn't be versions of your different web pages indexed. Since Google's Panda update it is also probable that your website may be penalised in the listings.

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Using iframes would basically mean that content would not be seen by search engines. –  DisgruntledGoat Aug 23 '12 at 10:52
    
Using Ajax should do the same thing, right? Ajax content is not indexed by default. –  user131003 Aug 24 '12 at 2:35
    
so long as you link to the page that is placed in the iframe from another location on the site, the content will still be indexed by google as google will crawl the link. The content within the iframe won't be associated with the country specific pages but the localised text on those pages will be crawled and used for the SEO purposes, It is the localised text that will want to be optimised for to rank highly for the country specific searches. If the text that is repeated on the pages is delivery information, T&C's etc this would further limit the SEO impact of that content. –  Custom Clicks Aug 29 '12 at 23:00
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