Translate or duplicate website for new markets? The Big decision!

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Hi All,

 

We're UK based and would like to grow our sales into Europe, specifically 3 or 4 countries, has anyone had experience doing this and can they help flag up any potential pitfalls before we decide how to proceed?

 

Our website is currently in English and it would seem we have two potential options:

 

1 - translate current website

 

2 - duplicate website, i.e have 3 or 4 different websites

 

We'd like to make an informed decision how best to proceed and evaluate all the associated costs, ongoing maintenance and resource issues and also the SEO/google ranking effect of both options. I've listed positives and negatives of each options below so far:

 

Transalte options

- easy to do, can use langify or google translate 

- little maintenance, only need to update one theme  

- less SEO impact? does google crawl your site in each language?

- less domain/url authority? It would be reassuring for customers to see .fr if in France for example? Can we buy these urls and point them at our store in any case? I presume visitors would just default to out .com url?

- can only use one checkout currency, will feel less authentic to customers/confusing? 

- quicker a cheaper option

 

Duplicate option

- better SEO as google would treat it as a new website? would we have duplicate content issues?

- more time consuming, would have to potentially update 3 or 4 stores at once! 

- a better user experience, more authentic feel for our EU customers  

- more time consuming and expensive option

 

On the face of it i think the duplicate option would be the best solution, but it would take more time to implement and manage moving forward. I guess it comes down to how much will our sales increase with a translated site with limitations vs a duplicated site, will there be a big difference, i'd love to hear everyones thoughts? Also, the google ranking impact as over the long term it would be nice to build up a presence and rank highly organically.

 

I'm also going to check if our theme has a built in language filter.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Community Manager
Community Manager
2397 163 351

Hi @Pip999,

 

Nick here from Shopify. 

 

It's great to see you thinking of expanding your store to appeal to different countries. As you mentioned, the best two options are to have the store translated or create multiple stores, to which there are positives and negatives to each. Let's go through some of the points you talked about to help with your decision. 

 

Translate Options

Langify would definitely be your best bet in terms of having your store translated into multiple languages should you decide to go down that route. 

- You touched on the SEO and whether or not Google would crawl the website in each language. Google would only crawl the website in one language the one it is primarily written in.

- With the domain's, you could still buy each domain .fr etc. and have them as subdomains so when someone typed that in it would appear for them or direct them to your store. 

- I'm not sure what plan you are currently on, but the Shopify Plus plan has introduced a new feature to enable store customers to check out in their preferred local currency should they wish. You can read more about Plus stores being able to sell in multiple currencies here. If you are not on the Plus plan your best bet here would be to use a multi-currency app to get it as close as possible to your customer's native currency. Since you are based in the UK and most of Europe would use the Euro, I can see why you would want the option to have customers check out in Euro here. 

- Maintaining one store over several will be much cheaper and will also be a much easier logistical process. 

 

Duplicate Option

- SEO would treat this as a net new website and your SEO would have to be built from scratch here. One thing I would strongly recommend is not having the same content on multiple websites, even if it is the same store. The reason for this is because it will result in Google looking at the 3 stores as individual websites with the same content, and therefore drop the rankings. The preferable way for this would be to have each store with their own twist on content, preferably location specific content. Google's reasoning behind this is to punish copycat websites. 

- I can definitely see how having multiple stores would create better experiences for your customers and if you can justify the cost, time and sales income to do it with this method, then it might be the best way forward for you. This is something only you can know and decide on though. 

 

I'm not sure how many extra stores you wanted to create but you could try it with one first and see how it goes and gradually build it out from there? 

 

I hope this helped!

 

All the best, Nick

Nick | Social Care @ Shopify
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New Member
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Hi Nick,

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond to me, i've been meaning to come back to you but just been snowed under with work. I'll come back to you in the coming days as i think there might be a third option to consider and i'd love to hear your thoughts.

 

Thanks,

 

Phil

 

 

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Community Manager
Community Manager
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Hi Phil, 

 

No problem at all, I completely understand how it can get sometimes. 

 

Please do let me know about another option for this. I look forward to hearing about it. 

 

Cheers, Nick

Nick | Social Care @ Shopify
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New Member
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Hi Nick,

 

I think I got confused earlier, my 3rd option was in-fact to use sub directors or sub folders but this is what a translator app such as languify would actually create in any case if configured correctly? I'm confused on this as an alternative app (Weglot) doesn't use sub domains or folders, they have a test website and the URLs do not change when you update the language option, see below:

 

https://weglotapptest.myshopify.com/

 

So.. to Translate or Duplicate?

 

Translate 

 

This is the easy option, we get the functionality we require, a better customer experience and only require one website with minimal maintenance.

 

The downsides

 

Google will not crawl our foreign content so we will not rank higher in our new territories, our customers still have to check out in pounds (we don't have Shopify Plus).

 

Questions

 

1. Apps such as Weglot seem to suggest that translated sites do rank in google, see link https://apps.shopify.com/weglot - I guess this doesn't mean its a good thing if its classed as duplicate content?

 

Duplicate Option

 

We'd rank better for SEO via individual websites that we'd have to create and could tailor each website to that specific country helping us gain consumer trust. 

 

The downsides 

 

Potentially we'd have to create brand new content for each site as not to have duplicate content, are we sure google with flag this up in a different language? This method is more time consuming. 

 

Additionally, we'd have to potentially create new social channels, this would be really time consuming unless we just stuck with our english versions.

 

Questions

 

1. If we have duplicate content in different languages will google flag this up and potentially drop our rankings over our three/four sites (or how many new sites we create)? Essentially the same as my previous question following your advise "Google will only crawl in one language (the one its written in)". 

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Phil

 

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Community Manager
Community Manager
2397 163 351

Hi Phil, 

 

This is a great question. 

1. If we have duplicate content in different languages will google flag this up and potentially drop our rankings over our three/four sites (or how many new sites we create)? Essentially the same as my previous question following your advise "Google will only crawl in one language (the one its written in)". 


Having duplicate content on multiple websites of any kind is something I would strongly against even if it is the same store. The reason being is what you touched on in your question, it will result in Google looking at the 3 stores as individual websites with the same content, and therefore potentially drop the rankings. With situations like this, it is generally best for each store to have its own twist on the content, preferably location specific. 

 

Hope this helps!

Nick | Social Care @ Shopify
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