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About 3 months ago, we translated our website to Spanish. Because our brand name has a meaning on its own, we decided to translate the brand name as well. The hope was that it would benefit our SEO.

For example (fictional):

  • www.footballtactics.com --> would be the current site

  • www.tacticasdefutbol.es --> the same website in Spanish

We marked in both sitemaps the different language versions, and we put links on both websites pointing to each other (in the footer with a language pop up as you see it on a lot of website).

We notice that, even after 3 months, we have nearly zero traffic on the Spanish website. Our average .com ranking on Google is 6.6, while on .es it's 70. Search engine clicks are non-existing on .es, while on .com +1 million for the last 3 months.

Apart from the language, the website is the exact same. Meta tags have been translated too. There's absolutely no reason why English speakers have more interest in our website content.

So... we're starting to think that going for a new top level domain wasn't so smart after all.

My question: would you advice us to go for www.footballtactics.com/es or es.footballtactics.com instead? Will we benefit from our good .com ranking there? The main thing we would like to achieve is that people who search for "tacticas de futbol" find our website, so it's not about Spanish people who search for "football tactics" and that are presented a Spanish version (which is nice too of course but the other will drive more traffic).

What are your thoughts?

  • There is nothing wrong with a separate domain, but 3 months is not enough time to develop rankings. New domains need at least a year. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 16 at 23:31
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It sounds like Google likely thinks your Spanish website is duplicate content of your English website.

Rather than changing your URL structure, set up hreflang instead. On each page of your websites - both English and Spanish - inside the <head></head> tags, you add links to both versions of that page.

So say you're on the homepage: inside the <head></head> tags, you would have

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.footballtactics.com" hreflang="en">
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.tacticasdefutbol.es" hreflang="es">

You include both links on both homepages. And so on and so forth, for every page of each website. This way you're telling Google about the translation and instead of Google thinking someone else copied your content, you're confirming that both versions are yours.

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