When going international with SEO, I know there are multiple ways to do this. Acquiring ccTLD's is the best option but, if the brand name is already taken with a different ccTLD what is the best route to go down?

Still acquire ccTLD's but add the county example, domain.co.uk => domainfr.fr

or go down the sub-directory route?


In terms of SEO, it will always be better to host all countries on the same domain:

For example:

  • example.com United States
  • example.com/fr/ France
  • example.com/uk/ United Kingdom

But in terms of co.uk vs .uk, they are exactly the same as one another as Google and Bing are concerned and you will not benefit with one more than the other, however... you may miss a small percentage of people going to the wrong site when directly attempting to go to the site. ccTLD's are not rewarded any more than all other domains such as .com, .io, .shop or any other domain.

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  • With ccTLD's I know that with each domain you would be starting from scratch in terms of authority etc but, it is a stronger signal to target countries compared to sub-directories which is more beneficial in the long term. If going down the ccTLD route, having different domains that are slightly different, but be associated with each other through linking and hreflangs, this won't have any negative SEO effects right? – GrapeSoda Jul 7 '17 at 13:11
  • That's incorrect, Google and Bing consider ccTLD as probably more relevant in the appropriate country but using rel="alternate" hreflang="x" is exactly the same, since your telling search engines the content is for X lang. You have businesses ranking globally for ccTLD without a TLD. Having ccTLD does not make it any easier to rank, in fact its a lot harder due to the lack of authority, but to believe a ccTLD is easier or better, is a false statement. Domain(s) should be purchased to meet the requirements of your business, not search engines. So either solution will work, just one is harder. – Simon Hayter Jul 7 '17 at 13:18

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