We have multiple ccTLDomains and are thinking about how to best combine these into one. We want to do this to focus our link building efforts.
We are running a website through which we offer a software-as-a-service. Therefore we could potentially sell to any country in the world. However, Germany is our most important market. We currently have a .com, .de, .nl. and .pl domain. All these domains have a high amount of unique content pages.
What we are planning is to change everything to .com with language-based subdirectories, so .com/en/, .com/de/, etc. I have two questions concerning this issue:
1) How much of an advantage does a ccTLD have over a gTLD with country specific subdirectories in search rankings? So let’s say .de versus .com/de/?
2) How could we best redirect the visitors of our old ccTLD’s to our gTLD’s subdirectories? We would like to loose as few search engine rankings as possible.
Thank you for your help.