As I wrote about recently on the Found blog, I attended the ‘Search London’ event recently.
The second topic of the evening was a short case study about Pete’s Handley’s (@ismepete) experiences in handling internationalisation of domains and his thoughts on best practise using the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” tags. This looks like an area that is set to evolve as the search engines improve support for these tags and serve up the correct content for each geo-based search. I found this interesting as this is one topic I have had many questions on in the past few months. I would have to agree with most points discussed regarding solutions with using different domains. It must come down to uniqueness and budgets, and would have to be analysed on a case by case basis.
You can view his slides on his case study here. This saved the client a decent size of budget!
Pete’s company developed a useful hreflang sitemap tool that can help with sitemap code.
Sitemap generation is a funny one; you may have plugins installed on a CMS that handle this , or PHP scripts that can be set up to work as a cron job on the server. I have not seen that any of these script solutions incorporate these tags yet, but perhaps they should!
For more about International SEO, this recent post on SEOmoz is interesting.
As an aside, I am having a little trouble with hosting, will be exploring other options shortly!