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I have a global product presentation website myproduct.com

For certain countries I also own the country domain: myproduct.co.uk, myproduct.com.au, myproduct.es, myproduct.de, etc.

The presentation website is translated in multiple languages and I set up redirects: myproduct.es will redirect to myproduct.com/es/, myproduct.de will redirect to myproduct.com/de/, etc. .

The content so far is the same, just translated in different languages. The advantages are that it's easy to keep the content aligned - everything is managed from one centralized dashboard (I'm using Wordpress with qtranslate).

Now I'm running into trouble as for different countries I want localized content - for UK I want to run different promotions and use a different reseller than for .com.au so I would like that users coming from myproduct.co.uk see something different than those coming from myproduct.com.au (and not be redirected to myproduct.com as they are right now).

How can I achieve this?

  1. I could duplicate the whole main website and modify only certain parts but then I would have a lot of duplicate content (e.g. info about how the product works) and I would have pages that are likely to change (FAQ page) that I would have to keep updated over all websites.
  2. I can duplicate only partially the main website: on the localized website I would have only the pages that are different and then all other links would point to the .com site. This would solve the duplication problem but would cause confusion for the user as you would navigate from .co.uk to .com without noticing and then wonder how to get back.
  3. Other, better option?

Conclusion

After reading the links recommended by the answers and this related question if decided on duplicating the TLD site on multiple country specific websites with canonical links as a matter of dealing with duplicated content.

I still don't like the fact that a content update has to be propagated to multiple sites (time consuming and error prone) but I understand the SEO benefits.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I wouldn't worry too much about duplicating your own content across different language versions (even different English versions) — especially if you are making some changes to it.

Search Engines are smart enough to know, quoting Google on duplicate content and international sites:

Websites that provide content for different regions and in different languages sometimes create content that is the same or similar but available on different URLs. This is generally not a problem as long as the content is for different users in different countries.

However, there are steps you can take to clarify to search engines why you've made duplicate content:

  • Use a clear URL structure (from what I can tell, you're doing it right)
  • Set each subdirectory to have the correct geo-targetting in Google Webmaster Tools
  • Make sure that language use is consistent on each sub-directory
  • "Make sure each language version is easily discoverable"

This video from Matt Cutts may also interest you: "Does translated content cause a duplicate content issue?" (Simple answer is: No.)

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Great links - I wish they would come up sooner when googling. Now let's say that I decide to duplicate the website myproduct.com to myproduct.co.uk and fine tune some pages specific for UK. I would still have some duplicated content myproduct.com/FAQ/ and myproduct.co.uk/FAQ/ would be the same. Since in this case I want people to view result on my TLD website I should indicate to search engines that myproduct.co.uk/FAQ/ is a duplicate of myproduct.com/FAQ via rel="alternate" hreflang="x" or better just stop crawling myproduct.co.uk/FAQ/ by including it in robots.txt? –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 15:01
    
Thanks, did you get your answer? –  Baumr Nov 28 '12 at 15:02
    
I've updated my previous comment with an additional scenario (too fast with the enter the first time). Getting an answer to that scenario would be and "answered" question. –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 15:06
    
@Ando, I think you should leave the FAQ as is without any of that, and use rel="canonical" or rel="alternate" only in cases where, as Google puts it, "you're providing the same content to the same users on different URLs". I think that Google will decide accurately what search result is best to serve. Someone searching in the UK will get the UK ccTLD, and someone searching in English in other countries should get the TLD. Someone searching in English in the EU could get the UK ccTLD which would be good as well. –  Baumr Nov 28 '12 at 16:34
1  
Thanks for clearing this up - I now have enough data to move forward. –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 17:28

For SEO purposes you're definitely better using the TLD specific to the individual countries. This will also give you more flexibility in making whatever customized pages you want for each geographic area.

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ok - I get the SEO part, it makes sense - then how do I tackle the content duplication part? Is there any way I can get around it? –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 13:45
    
If each site has its content only in the language tied to that TLD, then you really have no worries about duplicate content. –  Kenzo Nov 28 '12 at 13:48
    
but what for .co.uk, .com.au and .com - all are english websites so some content will be duplicated. Country specific promotions and info are different but product info pages, faq, etc. are the same. What's the best approach here? –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 13:56
    
As far as I know it's not considered duplicate content if sitename.com, sitename.co.uk and sitename.com.au are the same. Google realizes that's all the same company with localized sites. My company does this, has all sites together in the same Google webmaster/analytics/ad words account and has never had any trouble. –  Kenzo Nov 28 '12 at 14:12
    
and how do you handle content updates? if I duplicate the content then I have to make the same change in multiple websites? Is this the case? –  Ando Nov 28 '12 at 14:16

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