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My project is in 7 languages. For each language, we bought a domain. The project already has some success. Some domains have many visitors from search engines, some not so many.

When we launched, our competitor launched the same project on 7 languages, but he put languages on 1 domain.

Now he has 32 times more visitors, but his design and content are not the best.

  • Do you think that just one domain could increase the traffic?
  • Is it worth to move 7 languages on 1 domain?
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  • Your competitor might be outranking you because of various other factors than the question you have asked. If you have similar landing pages across all these individual domains, did you setup "hreflang" tags to optimize properly? – idk yesterday
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There are two types of method for multilingual websites.

  1. First is using sub-domain for each language (the same as using separate domains).

    https://en.example.com/
    
    https://fr.example.com/
    

    As you may know, each sub-domains ranking separately and has no affect on your root domain. Google identify each sub-domain as an independent website. Normally you may experience situation as like as you mentioned. I have already multilingual website and suggest next type:

  2. Second is using sub-directory for each languages, it is more popular in most cases because google identify all languages of your website as a single website.

    https://example.com/en
    
    https://example.com/fr
    

    In this case each sub-directory try to get ranking higher not only for themselves but also for other directories and also your root domain. As a result, I suggest you to use subdirectory and redirect all your domains to new addresses.

  • 2
    There are at least two other methods: 3) using different domain names completely, as is the case of the question and 4) using same URLs but changing language base on content-negotiation – Patrick Mevzek Feb 12 at 14:27
  • "each sub-domains ranking separately and has no affect on your root domain" is usually false. There are some exceptions where Google treats subdomains as separate sites when they are given out to different people (eg blogspot), but most of the time when all the subdomains of a site are owned by the same person and linked together, Google sees it all as one big site. See Do subdomains help/hurt SEO? – Stephen Ostermiller 2 days ago
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Subdomains work better as they are considered as separate sub-sites. However, you have already bought 7 domains and crated 7 language versions of your main website, haven't you?

It looks easier to drive traffic to one portal and to distribute it from there, based on the language preferences of the website visitors and based on their country, region, etc. I don't know what do you want to achieve here - to established brands for different markets or simply to target customers who speak different languages.

It looks to me that you can continue to operate those 7 domains and websites you have, but you need a marketing concept on how to position them in the local markets, develop them and how to distribute the web traffic between those websites.

If you put them on different hosts, different Cloud networks, this will improve your chances to reach the local audience, but it comes with a greater management effort.

  • Thank you for the useful info in your answer, but it's generally frowned upon here to recommend specific services, whether or not they are your own. – Maximillian Laumeister 2 days ago

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