For the same website I've got 3 domains: .fr, .com, and .co.uk. To start with it was to avoid people buying the same name.

I used have my content in French only and redirected all the traffic to the .com using 301.

Now I've got all my content translated from french wonder what would be the best thing to do:

  • www.domain.fr: French content
  • www.domain.com: English content

or keep the 301 and go for

  • www.domain.com/fr/: French content
  • www.domain.com/en/: English content

The obvious seems to use .fr for French and .com for English, but what's about the co.uk?

I'm planning on get it translated into Spanish and German, using


It will be easier and cheaper than buying more domains.

I'm planning to do my change in 2 weeks and once it's done, unless I start to create long and painful rewrite rules, I will lose my Google rank.

  • 2
    Assuming this is an SEO question... Keep all your content under one domain with the /fr /en. 301 redirect the co.uk to /en Keeping your content on one domain will build your pages inbound links, whereas splitting the content will dilute your inbound links.
    – Will
    Jan 5, 2011 at 20:41
  • Thx for your input it seems to be a sensible idea, found some more information: googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/03/… and the main issue with using /fr en /en seems to be geotargeting but in my case it's not relevant so I will probably go for it.
    – Arnaud
    Jan 6, 2011 at 9:34
  • Many companies seem to use the country domains to point to commercial operations relevant to that country, and the language code to display in a specific language. so for example: domain.co.uk would redirect to domain.com/en/uk (for UK sales/service in English), domain.fr to domain.com/fr/france/ domain.ca to domain.com/en/canada but a link to domain.com/fr/canada would be available for Canadians operations in French.
    – boisvert
    Apr 13, 2011 at 16:01
  • I have always had better SEO on my sites that have the TLD matching their language. The simple fact is that having that top page in English, Thai, Turkish or Japanese makes a huge difference. Especially when we have a local office in that language region, it makes a site seem more legitimate to visitors when we have the correct local TLD.
    – Kenzo
    Mar 20, 2013 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


From an SEO perspective, Google supports internationalized sites on top level domains, sub-domains, and in folders. It is possible to release multiple English sites for US / UK / CA / AU, etc. You would have to use appropriate spelling on each.

Top Level Domains

  • Most expensive - you have to buy example.es, example.de, example.com.au. In addition to the registraton fees, you will probably have problems with squatters. It can be time consuming.
  • Users often react most favorably to these, as they like browsing on a familiar TLD
  • You move hosting into the country that you are targetting by changing your DNS.
  • You have the option of localizing your brand name by buying a different name in a particular country. In some cases you may want to change the spelling.
  • You can't share cookies across all your sites
  • Since most TLD registries are by country, it makes more sense to internationalize by country than by language. Otherwise do you put the Spanish site on .es or .mx?


  • Cheaper than TLDs
  • You can still move the hosting
  • You can share cookies across all your international sites
  • May look "translated" to users and users may react less favorably
  • You can choose to internationalize by language or by country


  • Similar to sub-domains, but you can't move hosting closer to international users
  • Also, for the record, .es would be more appropriate than .mx. Español has been given the ISO language identifier of 'es'. It appears as if you concluded that español is restricted to España and México. It is also the official language of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia (with more native speakers than in España), Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guinea Ecuatorial, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, la República Dominicana, El Salvador, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It is also widely spoken by millions elsewhere (including 37 million people in the United States). Mar 20, 2013 at 23:51
  • If you put your Spanish site only on .es Google will only show it to searchers in Spain. If you want your site available worldwide, you need to put multiple copies of it on all the country level domains (even in the same language), or put it on a generic top level domain like .com Nov 20, 2013 at 19:46

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