Is there any difference between the syntax here;

example.dk/ (danish)


example.dk/da (danish)

I realise that in the top example, the domain is Danish .dk, which makes it implicit that it is Danish, but I would like to know if the second practice influences SEO negatively?


I don't see how the second version (including a subdirectory of the language in both cases) would have any negative (or positive) SEO impact over the first version (without a subdirectory for the primary language).

The important criteria is that the different language versions have different URLs. Both your URL versions satisfy that criteria.

The subdirectory name is just to make the URL unique. For direct-SEO it doesn't even need to be representative of the language - the HREFLANG attributes handle that. Instead of /da, you could use /foo and I don't think the search engines would really care. However, /foo isn't so meaningful for users, so using something that is representative of the language (as you are doing) is obviously better for users (which could indirectly benefit users).

So, I don't think there is any difference between these two URL structures SEO-wise.

the domain is Danish .dk, which makes it implicit that it is Danish

Well, yes, although strictly speaking the domain is Denmark (locale / geo-target).


Your second structure actually has a few advantages, but first a clarification:

Google views most ccTLDs as a "strong signal" that a site is intended for the related country, but it doesn't imply anything about language. So .dk indicates Denmark but doesn't say anything about the language of a site. Google works out language by looking at the content itself (ref. here).

So, assuming you want to target people in Denmark, both of your structures are fine from an SEO standpoint. But whenever we have more than one language site on a single domain, it's often better to be consistent and put each language inside its own folder. It leaves the domain root free to handle conditional redirects, users can identify the language/locale from the URL, etc.

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