My company has a
.cl TLD for our Chilean website. I think it would be better for SEO purposes to have a bilingual site. I wanted to reach out to the masses to see if you think there is any benefit to having the site on two different domains based on geography.
Overview on ccTLDs
ccTLDs (country code top level domains) are the single strongest way to show search engines and users that site content is specifically targeted to a certain country or region — but, importantly, NOT specifically a certain language.
If your website uses a ccTLD, Google will assume that both the website and all of its content are specifically relevant to the country/region of the ccTLD and it should primarily appear on SERPs in that country/region.
Moreover, ccTLDs target geographic areas (countries, regions). They do not target languages.
What does this mean?
.cl website multilingual may help it rank higher in Chile for certain queries - mainly (see below) in cases like this:
- A page on your website normally ranks...say 2nd page for the term "How to fix my keyboard".
- The user's browser language is English
- The pages/sites on the 1st page of the search results only offer their content in Spanish - since your site offers an English version, Google includes your result on page 1 instead of 2.
This is not to say that making your site multilingual will not help you globally. Of course it will help, but perhaps not to the extent that it could (at least in the short term) if it was a TLD.
Making a site on a ccTLD multilingual will absolutely open the door to global rankings, but it's going to require a lot of additional signals (primarily links) over time to see visible results.
So when I say mainly in cases like this, I mean that it's in situations like those outlined above that you'll observe a majority of the benefit.
Approaches to Internationalization
I'll start with a disclaimer that there are many right ways to accomplish internationalization. These are two approaches I would take in this situation based on my experience and established best practices. They are equally good methods of internationalization, but different depending on your longer term goals.
Multiple Domains: Additional ccTLDs for Additional Countries/Regions
I'm assuming this is what you might mean when you say "different domains based on geography". If you just want to target users in Mexico and the US you could create
- Pros: Clear geo-targeting, server location is irrelevant, it will be easy to keep sites separate
- Cons: Might get expensive, the ccTLD name you want might not be available, will requires more infrastructure, you'll need to build up the backlink profiles of each ccTLD separately.
Single Domain: Redirect
example.cl to a gTLD (Generic Top Level Domain)
If your goal is to eventually target many different countries, I would recommend this.
How it would work:
- 301 Redirect
- From there, use
hreflangto designate additional international versions of your site. You would want to choose between a subdomain method or a subdirectory method to indicate these versions - Ex:
- If you go this route, be sure to fill out Google's International Targeting report.
Here's a current list of TLDs