I am soon launching a multilingual site under 2 different domain names, in the same region (country) and would like to know if I am taking the wrong approach and running into a wall. I would also like to have suggestions, recommendations on what I should do to make things right. I read several questions/answers about multilingual sites with the same content in different regions. But good advice/questions/answers for the same site, with multiple domains, with the same content, in the same region, are harder to find.
The reason for the 2 domain names is that the brand name will be available and advertised in 2 languages:
brand-in-French.ca, and even if I could use a single domain name for both languages, I really insist, if what I am trying to do is possible, to have 2 domain names. What I mean by possible, is to be able to score high in SEO (assuming I follow all the good practices) and that my will to have 2 domains does not affect my SEO score.
Both domains would have the exact same content, would be available in the 2 languages, and would have the language/locale in the URL. This is to allow users to switch site language while keeping their sessions active. So:
brand-in-English.ca/fr/some-page(default/fallback language would be English, if user accesses the domain directly)
brand-in-French.ca/fr/some-page(default/fallback language would be French, if user accesses the domain directly)
What I want, desired behavior:
For results in search engines, if user searches in English, I would like
brand-in-English.ca/en/some-pageto show in the results, not
brand-in-French.ca/en/some-page(I do not want duplicate content, and I don't want the exact same page to be shown in search results with the 2 different domain names).
For results in search engines, if user searches in French, I would like
brand-in-French.ca/fr/some-pageto show in the results, not
brand-in-English.ca/fr/some-page(I do not want duplicate content, and I don't want the exact same page to be shown in search results with the 2 different domain names).
I would like English users to be able to see in search engine results the French domain (
brand-in-French.ca/en/) if they search for the French brand name "brand-in-French" while being in English on the search engine.
I would like French users to be able to see in search engine results the English domain (
brand-in-English.ca/fr/) if they search for the English brand name "brand-in-English" while being in French on the search engine.
What I found so far is on https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/03/working-with-multi-regional-websites.html:
There is generally no need to "hide" the duplicates by disallowing crawling in a robots.txt file or by using a "noindex" robots meta tag. However, if you're providing the same content to the same users on different URLs (for instance, if both "example.de/" and "example.com/de/" show German language content for users in Germany), it would make sense to choose a preferred version and to redirect (or use the "rel=canonical" link element) appropriately.
So is that "rel=canonical" link element enough?