I have seen several questions similar to this one being asked all over the internet, all the answers seem to give conflicting advice and/or are really old - they do not seem to be valid in regards to the new gTLDs (e.g., .ninja, .photo, etc...)

We have one of the new gTLDs, for example: example.photo

We want this one address to cover all countries we trade in, given the purpose of these new domains it would not be appropriate to create ccTLDs (.au, .ca, etc...)

The website is only in English but allows different currencies. There may be the occasional page / some odd word changes on the homepage that would be country specific.

My question is what would be the best setup for a website like this in regards to SEO? Currently we do not have any regional specific settings and simply allow the currency to be changed - is this okay? Would Google (and others) know to list our website in other searches and not just UK (where our server is based)?

Or should we create subdirectories like /uk/, /us/, /au/, etc...and use hreflang tags to point to the variations? This option I feel might be clearer to the user but I worry about duplicate content, as most of the pages are likely to be exactly the same.

2 Answers 2


Would Google (and others) know to list our website in other searches and not just UK (where our server is based)?

The only way to make sure is using sub-folders for each of your target countries, just as you suggested, AND use the hreflang annotation. If the currencies are different, but the rest of the content is the same, you might still be fine with the hreflang since you tell Google that you know about the duplicate content, but that the content aims at a different audience. By using hreflang, you can also use geotargeting in Google Webmaster Tools. In my opinion, that's the cleanest way to go.

This option I feel might be clearer to the user but I worry about duplicate content, as most of the pages are likely to be exactly the same.

You could use a rel="canonical" referring to the main version of the website, but in this case, please be aware that all country-specific sites containing this canonical are going to be de-indexed by Google. Which is not what you might want, I guess. I remember John Mueller saying that he would not advise using rel="canonical" unless you really have 100% duplicates. When you have even subtle differences like different currencies on web shops, you should be fine with hreflang.

For further reference, please have a look at this.

  • Thanks for confirming that we would probably need subfolders. If we have example.photo/ auto-redirect to the correct local version, what do we do with existing links and Googles current ranking of them? We can have them 302 to the new page but from an SEO perspective does it matter? Are we likely to see any affect on our current ranking? Jan 19, 2015 at 16:59
  • By 'existing links', do you mean backlinks from other domains to your old ccTLD URLs? In this case, if you use 302, your linkjuice will be lost. Use a 301, so Google understands that the URLs have permanently moved to a new direction. Most if not all of your linkjuice will then be transferred to your new domain and your rankings are going to be fine very likely. Jan 20, 2015 at 9:06
  • Thanks that makes sense. If we have an auto-redirect at the root to send the user to the correct site based on their location, is this also a 301? For example, viewing example.photo/ within the US would go to example.photo/us/ - this would also happen for any pages, so example.photo/my-page would go to example.photo/us/my-page. Can you see any issues with this? Jan 20, 2015 at 11:31
  • By auto-redirecting, do you mean you redirect the user only once they arrived at one URL (and THEN automatically redirecting them to another URL)? That could be a meta refresh or javascript (wouldn't recommend any of these search-engine-wise). You can find out what it is by browsing urivalet and inserting your URL (the original one, not the target URL). What number does it give you for "server response"? (three digits) Jan 20, 2015 at 12:06
  • Thanks for your help Gianna, i think this may be going slightly off the original question now. I am looking to achieve something similar to microsoft.com, when you go to microsoft.com from within the UK it 302 redirects to microsoft.com/en-gb/ but I also need the existing pages (without the region) to 301 somewhere so we dont lose Google ranking. Jan 20, 2015 at 12:20

Google publishes a list of top level domains that can be targeted worldwide. That list has not yet been updated with new TLDs such as .photo or .ninja.

I would expect Google to treat them just like .museum and .travel that are on that list: Google will allow you to target multiple countries with them. The only domain names that Google doesn't allow you to target globally are the country TLDs that are actively used in those countries.

It can be good for SEO to create regional sites with the same content but different pricing. I worked with a large website that had both translated sites and regional English sites. The regional English sites (uk, au, ca) eventually got higher market penetration than our .com site that was mainly targeted to the US.

Creating regional sites each targeted at a specific country is an allowed use of duplicate content. Google knows how to deal with it. You just have to make sure that Google knows about the targeting. Using country TLDs will make that happen automatically. If you use subdirectories, you should register each separately in Google Webmaster Tools and set the geo targeting in the setting for just that subdirectory. Using hreflang might also be enough, but I've never done that myself.

Creating regional sites is not required, however. You will get worldwide visitors to a single site. Allowing users to change the currency would be an acceptable solution.

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