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I would like to know if in terms of SEO, is it better have one website with two languages or two websites with different languages?

For example, I would like to have a website with the content in English and Spanish, but not sure if I should keep those languages in the same domain (example.com) or have two websites, one per language (example.com and example.es).

Btw, first thing I must take in consideration is amount of visits.

  • all depends on how you present the site. You can have one website with two different language that gives the best result in SEO as long as you have different url for both languages. Dont be confused, there can be different URL for same page that tells the server the user request certain language. No need two domain, just put a value after domain name. yoursite.com vs yoursite.com/fr, this will serve the same page but different language. – Muneer May 11 '14 at 10:28
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There is no big SEO advantage using either top level domains, sub-domains, or sub-directories. This is well covered in the question: How should I structure my URLs for both SEO and localization?

The biggest differences are going to be:

  • Top level domains and sub-domains allow you to move the hosting near the users by getting servers that are in the correct country. This can improve response times that make a difference both for usability and SEO.
  • Sub-domains and sub-directories allow you to share cookies between the different languages. This makes tracking and login seamless.
  • It can be difficult to obtain your domain name for each top level country domain. Expect to spend a great deal of time and money if you try to do so.
  • Another consideration is that sometimes there are legal aspects that make it important to either get a local ccTLD or not get one. – John Mueller May 14 '14 at 8:20
  • @JohnMueller I've heard of cases where it is difficult to obtain a country CC if you don't have a physical presence in the country, but I've never heard of a case where it is needed from a legal perspective. Can you elaborate? – Stephen Ostermiller May 14 '14 at 9:15
  • @StephenOstermiller France was forcing businesses to use .fr and if you wanted to have the legal right to sell something on your website, you had to have a .fr and then some authority's blessing. I don't think it's a requirement anymore. That being said, it was only if you were to sell to French people. Selling to anyone else would not matter. Of course, that was very penalizing since a UK company, for example, had the right to sell to French people without the need to be registered! On the other hand, many people would not purchase anything from companies outside of France. – Alexis Wilke Mar 19 '18 at 1:32
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I think that the most important thing in this situation is to make sure that your users are presented with the site in their language. It would make sense that if someone is immediately shown the website in their own language then they would be more inclined to visit and stay.

You can bet that Googlebot (and their friends) will know what language your users speak, so you just need to make sure that they also know where to find content in that language on your site. If they can get this information then you are more likely to be listed highly in localised searches.

According to Google's webmaster guidelines, using a ccTLD (like .es) is "a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country" (source). The page I linked to is worth a read as it lists the pros and cons of different tactics, but its clear that they're keen on the idea of using country specific domain names.

However, if you can use tools like Google's or Bing's Webmaster Tools to tell search engines explicitly where they should go for content in specific languages then you may think that going for the new domain option is pointless.

Personally - as somebody in the UK - I do instinctively like going to a .co.uk site. It shows that some effort has been made to accommodate those in other countries and acts as solid confirmation that you're on the right site for both your language and your region.

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