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I will have one project accessible from example.com and example.de. The sites will be the same, only default language will change.

Now, what's a better solution? Use both domain, each with own configure file to set default language? Or redirect from example.de to example.com/de?

What's better for the user? Does he even care?

What's better SEO-wise? Or will google even care?

It's not business project, so basically no need to promote the brand 'example.com'. What I mean is that on .com site, name of the site will be EXAMPLE-EN and on .de site name will be EXAMPLE-DE.

Thank you for you answers.

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    This question seems to be more suited for Webmasters – Bart van Ingen Schenau Oct 25 '14 at 14:11
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau didn't know about that site. Is there a way to move it there? – Paladin Oct 25 '14 at 14:13
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    There are two ways: 1. You can flag the question for moderator attention and ask them to migrate, or 2. You delete the question here and ask it again on the other site (which is possible as long as there are no answers). – Bart van Ingen Schenau Oct 25 '14 at 14:15
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Simply put the best answer is really a judgement call that you need to choice once you answer a few questions. Based on your question I would have to say that you really need to decide how you or your client goals are of the website. Are you targeting that particular country or the language? If it's the country then I would suggest Country-specific. If you are targeting the language then I would suggest either the subdomain or the subdirectory.

For more information click on the link provided, Google Webmaster Tools

Country-specific
example.ie

Pros
  • Clear geotargeting
  • Server location irrelevant
  • Easy separation of sites
Cons
  • Expensive (can have limited availability)
  • Requires more infrastructure
  • Strict ccTLD requirements (sometimes)

Subdomains with gTLDS
ie.example.com

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • Allows different server locations
  • Easy separation of sites
Cons
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone (is "de" the language or country?)

Subdirectories with gTLDs
example.com/ie

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Can use Webmaster Tools geotargeting
  • Low maintenance (same host)
Cons
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Single server location
  • Separation of sites harder

URL Parameters
site.com?loc=de

Pros
  • Not recommended.
Cons
  • URL-based segmentation difficult
  • Users might not recognize geotargeting from the URL alone
  • Geotargeting in Webmaster Tools is not possible

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Subfolder is the way to go.

The rationale is that subfolders will have links from all parts of the site including from the different language section. For subdomains your ranking might fluctuate between different languages.

Subdomains are not used very often except to differentiate a primary domains core business and purpose. If it is usually just language, a subfolder is what everyone normally uses.

Source: http://moz.com/community/q/subdomains-or-subfolders-for-language-specific-sites

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  • Hes about asking if separate TLD's, not sub-domains, which is what you refer to in your answer. – Max Oct 26 '14 at 13:48
  • Not anymore... :( – William Edwards Oct 29 '14 at 19:10
  • A misunderstand what you were talking about, from my perspective, everything is subdomain of . (dot), but now I see you meant en.example.org and de.example.org – graywolf Nov 10 '14 at 13:14

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