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My company wants to launch a new website for a new offer in 4 different countries : France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland. I was asked for advice about what kind of URL organisation to choose for international targeting.

First, I thought this was the same website, same content, in 4 different languages, managed centrally. So I advised subfolders, for better link equity sharing. So let's call the domain "mob.com": we would have mob.com/fr, mob.com/de, etc.

Then I learned that actually the websites will have different offers and content pages depending on the country, and that each would be updated by a local team. So I advised ccTLDs : mob.fr, mob.de... Since it's different languages, different content and different teams, let's go for different websites as well.

But for reasons that are beyond my control, they refuse ccTLD.

So i'm left with 2 options : back to the subfolders (mob.com/fr, mob.com/de...), or subdomains (fr.mob.com, de.mob.com...).

For SEO, I tend to prefer subfolders (for link equity and global SEO authority), but I wonder if it's right since these are in the end quite different websites. For different content, aren't subdomains more relevant ?

Moreover, subdomains allow to have one dedicated Search Console account for each. So I can set up the International Targeting in SC differently for each website.

With subfolders, I will have only one website, so one Seach Console account, so I can't use the International Targeting set up for each country can I ?

Thank you very much if you have insights about these questions

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Based on my experience, subdomain and subdirectory don't give different so many impacts. If you have already had a rank on the main domain, subdirectory maybe gets faster index, but if you don't have rank at yet I think it's no much different.

But I found a good article that you might need to read https://www.searchenginejournal.com/subdomain-subdirectory-cctld/226545/#close and https://www.searchenginejournal.com/subdomains-vs-subfolders-seo/239795/#close

The conclusion is:

To recap, if this current Google paradigm holds true, ccTLDs have lost nearly all of their appeal. Therefore, when it comes to making a decision of ccTLD vs subdomain vs subdirectory, there is hardly ever a reason to choose anything but a subdirectory.

A subdirectory will rank the fastest and is the choice of many large enterprise multinational websites (e.g., Apple, Samsung, HP).

One final note: when making the decision of what names to choose for the subdirectories, be sure to use common ISO language or country codes like UK for the UK or ES for Spanish, so Google can easily recognize the targeting.

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