Choosing the right international domain type

Internationalising your website to target different markets involves more than just having pages in different languages. It is definitely more than using Google to automatically translate your website into any language. Here Carla Mateus, senior account executive at digital PR agency, Stone Junction, explains the importance of domain type and structure when building an international website. 

Let’s say your UK-based business is a manufacturer and distributor of ball screws. Your target markets are in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and Spain. As a UK business, a top-level .co.uk domain may be tempting — after all, this is where your headquarters are. However, choosing a localised domain means Google will be much less likely to show your website in search results in other countries, such as the United States.

Even if you have content on your website in German and Spanish, Google will prioritise .de and .es domains for their relevant countries over a .co.uk domain with translated pages.

If your goal is to show up in international search results, it is important that your website has a universal domain such as .com, .net or .io. Because Google doesn’t associate these with a single nation, they give businesses the opportunity to target international markets without discrimination.

From here, you can structure your English, German and Spanish web pages in subdirectories. For example, ballscrewbusiness.com/es or ballscrewbusiness.com/de. This is the way we consistently recommend to our clients to maximise international SEO benefits with manageable levels of maintenance.

Once your website is in this structure, it’s vital that you make sure the relevant lang tags have been included the HTML to help Google direct the right people to the right pages. For help with this, or to ask any questions on restructuring your website, e-mail me on carla@stonejunction.co.uk or call +44 (0)1785 225416.

Carla Mateus

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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