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Picture the following existing international website:

https://www.example.com/ 
https://www.example.be/
https://www.example.be/fr
https://www.example.be/nl
https://www.example.be/de
https://www.example.be/en
https://www.example.be/es
https://www.example.fr/
https://www.example.fr/fr
https://www.example.fr/en

As you can see we have a .com website and ccTLD’s for each country, which is a good SEO practise. So far so good.

Now we are planning the launch of an international E-commerce for all countries, and thus I’m investigating which URL structure is the best approach. There are MANY options to choose from. A few things are important to our business:

  • Each country has its own independent shop
  • SEO is critical
  • Complexity, maintenance, costs

Here’s a list of a few of the options I could think of (for the country Belgium in this example):

https://shop.example.be/fr
https://shop.example.be/index.html?lang=fr
https://shop.example.com/fr-be
https://www.example.com/fr-be/shop
https://www.example.com/shop/index.html?lang=fr-be

I’m strongly leaning towards the 1st option (https://shop.example.be/fr, https://shop.example.be/nl, …), for the following reasons:

  • Keeping the ccTLD’s is best practise for SEO
  • A subdomain is better than a sub directory for the Shop location
  • No query strings for languages
  • Easily readable for users

Do you agree? Or better to use the .com website to consolidate SEO authority on 1 domain? All comments are very much appreciated!

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