I have a site which is multilingual. I need to target it for visitors from different countries, including United Kingdom and USA.

The problem is that if I make the main site for USA, and subdomain uk. for UK, it will contain the same content, and Google will treat it as a duplicate.

I want to also link my subdomains in a footer, like:

<a>our site in spain</a>,
<a>our site in english</a>,
<a>our site for UK</a> etc.

Will it help in this case or should I use some special meta-tags like <link rel="alternate" hreflang="..." href="..." /> to avoid actions from Google?

Or should I write different content for every english language version? (other languages' versions will be just translations from the main).

  • Incidently, English is what we speak in the UK. If you call the USA site English and a different one for UK you risk insulting your British customers. – JamesRyan Jun 16 '14 at 15:02
  • Google allows (and even rewards) duplicate content when it is targeted at a specific country. Also see: What is duplicate content and how can I avoid being penalized for it on my site? – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 16 '14 at 15:25
  • @JamesRyan But we need to target different sites for UK and USA because of specificity of services we provide. – Marian Popovych Jun 16 '14 at 17:01
  • @StephenOstermiller I think Google will penalize in any case of duplicate content despite it's usefulness and necessity. – Marian Popovych Jun 16 '14 at 17:02
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    @Marian I have run sites with the same content duplicated to target US, UK, and AU. The sites actually ranked a lot better when split like this. We made some small changes for each country (especially currency for prices) and use Google Webmaster Tools geo targeting features. – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 16 '14 at 17:12