International SEO: Site Structure

This article is part of an SEO series from WooRank. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
So you’ve decided to expand your brand overseas? Congratulations! Opening up your website to an audience beyond one country is a significant opportunity to growing your business.
Of course, once you’ve started the process of expanding internationally, you’ll be faced with some very important decisions. For your online business, one of the most important choices at the very beginning of this process is how to build your site to ensure you’re reaching your new target audiences.
In this piece we’ll go over all of the different options available to you for your international site structure. We’ll also investigate the potential impacts on SEO and provide other technical considerations for international SEO.
Building Multilingual or Multi-Regional Websites
When coming up with your international site structure, there are a few different paths you can take:
Country code top-level domains (ccTLD):
Note: Google interprets any top-level domain (TLD) that isn’t a registered country code as a generic TLD (gTLD).
Each option comes with its pros and cons and the right option varies on a case-by-case basis.
Country Code Top Level Domains
Using a ccTLD is perhaps the strongest signal you can send to search engines that your site is intended for users from a specific country. For example, seeing or will tell them that they should serve those sites in search results in France or Japan, respectively. The biggest advantage of taking this route is that Google has come out and said it uses ccTLDs to determine target audiences.
ccTLDs are good for businesses that:
Have a well-established global brand and will be creating a lot of content.
Are large operations with a physical presence in multiple locations.
Have the resources to build, maintain and promote a unique site for each targeted country.
Have a variety of products or services available depending on location and/or country.
Want to host their international versions on servers not located in the targeted countries.
Users also have a higher level of trust and familiarity with their country’s ccTLD (an important factor for an eCommerce business), which leads to a better user experience.
However, using this method also has the following drawbacks:
Significant development resources are required to create and maintain the various websites.
You’ll need to create and implement a unique SEO strategy for each site — you don’t get to take advantage of any acquired link juice or domain authority. This means separate keyword research, content strategies and link building for each.
Someone could have already registered your domain using a ccTLD you wish to target, or your ability to use certain ccTLDs could be restricted.
Creating multilingual or multi-regional subdomains is a possible solution for companies that haven’t built up strong global brand awareness and won’t be creating a lot of content to fill multiple sites using ccTLDs.
Go this route if you:
Don’t have a lot of resources to spend on building and maintaining multiple sites using ccTLDs.
Don’t have the time or resources to invest in building and maintaining multilingual or regional link profiles.
Have content that doesn’t differ by much other than slight language or regional tweaks.
Have product and/or service catalogs that aren’t significantly different based on language or location.
Want to keep your different regional/language targeted sites on separate servers.
If you do end up going this route, use Google Search Console to geotarget each subdomain. You can do this as well if you use ccTLDs, but search engines already see those country codes as signals to target specific regions.
Continue reading %International SEO: Site Structure%

via Reme Le Hane


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