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We are a company in a country and hence, have our main website using a example.sg ccTLD. However, our business is regional across a couple of South East Asian countries and we have purchased a couple of other countries domain e.g. .my, .co.id etc and have them 301 to our .sg address. We do not wish to replicate the site for each country due to resource constraints as well as the content/language used is applicable to all the other countries as well.

Questions:

  1. What impact is this going to be for our SEO?
  2. Should we add these 301 redirect domain into the google webmaster tools?
  3. In terms of link building, if we do get linkbacks e.g. from a .my website but to our website, since it is primarily .sg - does it still help in SEO?
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  • Is there any content on these additional sites? Or are they just set up to redirect?
    – dennislees
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 0:04

3 Answers 3

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  1. Based on the information provided, this scenario creates an inherently negative impact for SEO. Let me explain: ccTLD's are the single strongest way to show search engines and users that a site's content is specifically targeted to a certain country or region - but NOT to a specific language.

  2. Purchasing the same domain within other ccTLD's for the purpose of a 301 redirect will absolutely nothing for you, other than change the URL. Google is no longer penalizing 301 redirects, as announced by Gary Illyes on July 26, 2016. Read this article from MOZ here: https://moz.com/blog/301-redirection-rules-for-seo

  3. Backlinks from domains with CCTLD extensions within countries that you conduct business could be helpful, but only if they are relevant, and come from authoritative sites. The extensions are otherwise meaningless.

I highly recommend that you utilize a top-level domain name. Google is smart. Create a Google My Business page - even if you are not a local business, you can create a brand page and list your service areas. It is not worth limiting your exposure by using a ccTLD for your main site. Remember, Google assumes that site (and all of the content on it) is specifically relevant to the geographic area represented by the ccTLD - and thus will appear in search engine ranking positions for queries relating to that area.

For information about how Google treat's ccTLD's, please reference this article: https://moz.com/learn/seo/cctlds

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This is a question which doesn't have a direct answer as it really depends on your sites content, user language and user location. Ask yourself why are you doing this? To provide more targeted content for users in other countries? To provide translated content to users in other countries?

Check out this very detailed and extensive resource on this topic: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en

Let us know if you have any specific questions to your site setup after reading through this.

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ccTLDs are more language focused than location. If your site shares a language with another region/country, you'll be able to rank with only minor penalties. This is commonly seen with .co.uk (UK) sites ranking in the US or Canada.

If your main ccTLD doesn't share a language with a region/country you're targeting, you will be receiving a strong penalty ranking there.

Taking a 'local' ccTLD and redirecting it will not help. You need to clearly indicate that you have a page optimised for that language/location for it to rank well.

With Google, it's fine to duplicate content across regions as long as Search Console shows your domain as targeting a different region. Your example shows you're attempting to target Malaysia and Singapore. You need to serve the content (even if it's identical and English only) from two different domains.

Link equity is passed via a 301 redirect but it receives a penalty. To get the full benefit of a link, make sure it's going directly to a page with content rather than via a redirect.

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