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I am developing a website that should be multi languages.

I would like your opinions about what the best way to do it, considering get the most SEO possible.

I have these alternatives:

Altarnative 1: Separate domains

http://www.miweb.com -- English for default
http://www.miweb.com.fr
http://www.miweb.com.es
http://www.miweb.com.it

Altarnative 2: Sub domains

http://www.miweb.com -- English for default
http://fr.miweb.com
http://es.miweb.com
http://it.miweb.com

Altarnative 3: Sub folders

http://www.miweb.com -- English for default
http://www.miweb.com/fr
http://www.miweb.com/es
http://www.miweb.com/it

I would like to know about your experiences. I hope the question is okay.

Any suggestions, comments, objections or idea is welcome. Thank you.

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closed as not a real question by John Conde Dec 9 '12 at 18:07

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Internationalization is covered by [other questions]( webmasters.stackexchange.com/search?q=international+%5Bseo%5D ). –  John Conde Dec 9 '12 at 18:07
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2 Answers 2

Wherever feasible, ccTLDs should be first preference. Google recognise them and try to target a site accordingly.

User preference should be considered too, as users in some countries exhibit strong preferences for sites on their own ccTLD. For example, a "survey conducted by AFNIC in June 2010 showed a marked preference among French people for .fr domain names" (AFNIC is a body that administers French TLDs).

According to Google, subdirectories and subdomains of a gTLD are treated equally for geographic targeting purposes, so either www.example.com/fr/ or fr.example.com has the same potential from an SEO standpoint. This applies beyond the realm of geotargeting, too. There's much mythology about differences between the two. Use whichever makes sense technically.

If using either subdomains or subdirectories, register each separately in Google Webmaster Tools and use the geographic target setting for each. You may wish to set this to "unlisted" for the root domain if that's intended to address a global audience, as this should help avoid any unwanted location signals arising from your server's location.

I've focussed on Google so far since they're dominant in the places you mention. Bing, unlike Google, still use code declarations for geographic targeting, so use of the Content-Language meta element or the lang attribute of the <html> element can be used.

In either of those cases, if you're targeting a specific country as well as language, declare language/country pairs with valid ISO codes, e.g. en-GB (English, UK) or en-US (English, USA), fr-FR (French, France) or fr-CA (French, Canada), and so on. If just a language, that's fine too, e.g., en or fr.

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Don't use sub-domains. Alternative 1 would be good because Google recognizes the country specific TLD domains such as .fr for France and that domain and it's pages have a better chance of ranking higher in France.

In Alternative 2 if you use this method and each sub folder such as /fr has the language of that index and it's sub pages set to <META HTTP-EQUIV=Content-Language CONTENT=fr> this will tell Google and others the page language is French.

If the content on these country domains is very specific to that country I would use a domain. If you are simply translating your content to other languages then I would use sub-folders.

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Just curious, what's wrong with subdomains in your opinion? –  methode Dec 9 '12 at 14:12
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