URL planning for Multi-country eCommerce
Google use the terminology to ‘Geo Targeting’ to describe a strategy of providing country specific websites with local interest content. ‘Language Targeting’ in Google parlance describes the provision of multiple language versions of a website typically hosted on one domain.
In general, geo-targeting is best implemented through individual sites using their own top-level domains (.co.uk, .de, .es.es and so on). This provides some benefit in terms of search optimisation but, more importantly, provides very effective signposting for the user and helps generate confidence.
Where multilingual targeting (language targeting) is being deployed, each variation of the content can either reside in its own sub-domain or, more simplistically, in its own subdirectory.
If the latter approach is adopted then we use Google’s WebMaster tools to define the geographic target of each sub-directory, thus mitigating issues around duplicate content.
Providing a true multilingual user experience adds cost and complexity to your organisations content creation process. However,for an organisation that truly works in a pan-European or global context it should be considered essential.
It’s mere implementation clearly signals and communicates your organisation’s multi-national perspective.