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I have a friend whose eCommerce is working very well in one language. He would like to have me translating the website into Italian and to manage all the Italian customers.

From a SEO point-of-view, since the website right now is not ranked for Italian language at all, wouldn't it be better if I used a new new site with a new geographic domain .it containing some relevant keyword, rather than translating the original one? The original one has no SEO strategy in place anyway.

  • There is not enough information here to answer the question. Much of the answer relies upon facts such as how the existing site is registered, i.e. with a .it or .com TLD and the goal of the sites (both). There are several factors regarding the existing site that come into play. For this reason, I ask for more details about the original domain, or if you can post the domain name in a comment for us. Cheers!! – closetnoc Sep 22 '16 at 22:41
  • Hi! Thank you for your comment. The main existing site is in Slovenian with a local extension domain .si the new one would be .it with a keyword related domain name. – Maxyone Sep 23 '16 at 7:03
  • I forgot the scope. The existing site is selling products to Slovenia, the new Italian site would simply sell the same product to Italian customers. – Maxyone Sep 23 '16 at 7:50
  • You can translate the site, but have the translation on a .it domain name. It doesn't have to be translated and served on the existing domain. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 19 '16 at 19:46
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Multi-regional and multilingual sites

A multilingual website is any website that offers content in more than one language. Examples of multilingual websites might include a Canadian business with an English and a French version of its site, or a blog on Latin American soccer available in both Spanish and Portuguese.

A multi-regional website is one that explicitly targets users in different countries. Some sites are both multi-regional and multilingual (for example, a site might have different versions for the USA and for Canada, and both French and English versions of the Canadian content).

Expanding a website to cover multiple countries and/or languages can be challenging. Because you have multiple versions of your site, any issues will be multiplied, so make sure you test your original site as thoroughly as possible and make sure you have the appropriate infrastructure to handle these sites. Following are some guidelines and best practices for creating multilingual and/or multi-regional sites...

You can read the full documentation on Google for best practices here.

I suggest you do indeed create a secondary site/domain name (ie. example.it) to avoid mistranslations, avoiding errors and I think your results will be better targeting the Italian users directly and in turn your Italian site will get better ranking, targeting Italian visitors opposed to a hidden translation. In the end, you will be required to translate all pages regardless of method and this way it will keep you from having a partially translated site opposed to a new site that is all done in Italian from the get go.

  • Thanks Johnny! Translating would not be a big problem with wpml but I do understand your point. I was thinking that the main advantage could be having a domain which includes a keyword in Italian, while the old domain has the advantage of having traffic already. – Maxyone Sep 23 '16 at 7:08
  • Yes exactly, that is why I recommend a separate Italian site :) – norcal johnny Sep 23 '16 at 7:18
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If you already have an English version of the site you could make this the default page and use the href=lang tag on any other language versions to specify to Google that these are the language equivalents of the English page.

This lets Google determine which language the page should be set to based on the version of the website the user is visiting. For example, if a users language is English and visits the /it version of the web page this should be displayed in Italian.

In terms of the impact from an SEO perspective this will tell Google that there are different versions of the web page and will allow it to be indexed in different language versions.

It's important that your pages translate correctly to avoid pages not making sense and being viewed as spam.

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