How to approach internationalisation

How to approach internationalisation

8 How we determine a website’s targeted country

Country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs)

Multiple, separate websites for each target region and language — for instance .de for Germany, .cn for China — are a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country. Some countries have restrictions on who can use ccTLDs, so be sure to do your research.

Tip

We treat some vanity ccTLDs — .tv, .me — as generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), as we've found that users and webmasters frequently see these as being more generic than country-targeted. See a full list of domains Google treats as generic.

Geotargeting settings

If you’re creating a single multi-regional/multilingual website, you’ll need a generic (gTLD) domain. One domain has the advantage of meaning only one SEO campaign. So, you’d have a single generic (gTLD) domain, and then separate each language into a folder. For instance, myamazingsite.com/en/ and myamazingsite.com/de/ and myamazingsite.com/es/. Building authority to your original English site will have a positive impact on other language folders too.

For content specific to a certain country, geotargeting tells Google certain pages are relevant to users. If your site has a gTLD — for example .com, org, or .net — you can use the Country Targeting Tool in Search Console to tell Google your site is targeted at a specific country. However, don’t use this tool if your site targets more than a single country.

Tip

As regional top-level domains such as .eu or .asia are not specific to a single country, Google treats them as generic top-level domains.

Server location

The server location (through the IP address of the server) is often physically near your users and can be a signal about your site’s intended audience. But some websites use distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or are hosted in a different country with better web server infrastructure, so it’s not a definitive signal.

Other signals

Other clues as to the intended audience of your site can include local addresses and phone numbers on the site pages, the use of local language and currency, links from other local sites, and/or the use of Google My Business (where available). Google does not use locational meta tags (like geo.position or distribution) or HTML attributes for geotargeting.