I have a website with content in English. It is a niche website with a global market. However I would like users to be able to find the website using their own language. The scenario I envision is that the searcher is looking for the English content, but is searching in their own language. An example could be someone looking for "downloadable English crosswords."


Buy ccTLDs and have them permanently redirect to subdirectories on example.com. The subdirectories would contain HTML sitemaps in the target language e.g. -Redirect example.fr to example.com/fr


perhaps it would be better to maintain example.fr as an independent site in the target language with the html sitemap linking to pages on example.com?


Are the above methods good/bad? What are some other ways I can optimize SEO for foreign languages?

2 Answers 2


Simply buying country ccTLDs and redirecting them to single website will have no SEO effect. Websites rank well in Google due to content on the site and people linking to the site (amongst other things), if you are redirecting the site, then there is no site and thus no content for Google to see and rank.

You have a couple of options here. Create ccTLDS for each language you want to target and spread your efforts over these separate websites, or stick with your single domain and create sub folders, or sub domains for each specific language.

I think because you want people to find your foreign language content, then easily proceed to your English language pages, the best option here is to have country specific sub folders within a main site. This also means you can concentrate all your SEO efforts on a single site.

Here are some resources you might want to read on Muilti-lingual site best practices.

Googles Guide to Multi-regional and multilingual sites

The Ultimate Guide to Multilingual and Multiregional SEO

  • It's a bit old, but I read that "if you 302 the ccTLD, then the search engine will be told that BOTH domains are valid and therefore assign the appropriate localization (geolocation) to the site." REFERENCE mcanerin.com/EN/articles/301-redirect.asp
    – TryHarder
    Aug 2, 2013 at 3:13
  • Yeah, that article is from 2005 and the information is no longer correct. You should follow Google guidelines for multi-national websites. 8 years is a VERY long time in Web and SEO standards.
    – Max
    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:03
  • If I already owned some ccTLD's is there any way that I could benefit from them while still focusing on the single domain strategy?
    – TryHarder
    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:46
  • Are these ccTLDS live and have sites on? If so then any SEO benefits from links already pointing to these ccTLDS can be passed over to the main domain using 301 redirects. However if these ccTLDS have never had sites on then there is nothing to pass over.
    – Max
    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:58
  • You could make sites on these ccTLDS, then link them to one main website that doesn't target any language or locale. However, this wont help the main site get found in Google for different language searches.
    – Max
    Aug 2, 2013 at 7:04

Both ways you wrote above are good. The way with subdomains is cheaper and easier, but independent domain is better.
I have used subdomain for english on my website and my friend had used independent domain. It has too small time passed to say about final results, but you can read Google position about that:
Also good post here:

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