Optimizing a shoe-store in Connecticut for local SEO and doing the same for a multi-billion dollar enterprise with a global reputation are two completely different things. I think we can all agree on the fact that working on the local SEO of an enterprise that has 100s of locations across the globe (or even just in the United States) is a much more challenging task, undoubtedly.
Paying a lot of attention to online business profiles and digital knowledge management might be a big part of local SEO, but having an optimized website (or websites, perhaps) is equally important as well. And while it might seem like a no-brainer that one enterprise needs only one website, it really isn’t as simple as that at all. You can opt to go for a single-website strategy or choose to have multiple websites to represent the business, especially when your enterprise caters to consumers from different regions across the world.
But, how do you know which strategy is right for your business? Let’s break it down for you.
Single Website Strategy vs Multiple Websites Strategy for Enterprises
Now, if the business does not operate over multiple countries or regions, it goes without saying that you can choose to have one website that you can optimize for local SEO (we’ll be looking at that in just a bit). The only exception to this rule is probably the case when the business you’re managing has multiple brands or subsidiaries operating under it. An easy example is how Kids “R” Us and Babies “R” Us were two unique niche brands that operated under Toys “R” Us, for instance – having multiple websites makes a lot of sense in a case like this.
However, if the business is just one brand that operates over several regions, you have a choice to make. There’s no compulsion that you need to have multiple websites if the enterprise operates over several countries – in fact, some of the biggest companies have one website optimized for local searches across the world, and they’re doing great. Let’s take Apple, for instance.
Apple has one website (https://apple.com) that is optimized for local searches. If you run specific searches like “apple uk” or “apple south africa”, you can see that Apple returns links to the country-specific web pages, Apple (United Kingdom) and Apple (South Africa). And if you’re sitting in India right now and you’re just searching for “Apple”, the results are going to return the Apple (India) webpage.
I know what you’re thinking. Apple doesn’t necessarily have to focus on stores and physical locations, and as a result, local optimization isn’t a big deal for it, perhaps. They’re a tech company that can do quite well with just one website, right?
Not really. Let’s take a look at some other enterprises that HAVE to have physical stores. Apparel, perhaps. Let’s take a look at Burberry.
Search for Burberry from the USA, and this is what you’ll see.
Search for Burberry from India, and you’re gonna see this.
It’s the same case with Nike. Search for Nike from your hometown, and you’re likely going to get redirected to Nike’s international website (or if you’re lucky, the country-specific webpage), from where you can choose to move to the regional webpage, which is usually tucked under the domain https://nike.com.
But on the other hand, if you look at KFC’s website, or Coke’s, for instance, you’re gonna see that they have multiple websites for different countries and regions.
Now, which amongst these is the right way to go about it? Here are some factors to consider before you make your decision.
Single Website Strategy: Pros and Cons
- Much easier to maintain:
Even if you’re going to have specified webpages for different cities/countries, maintaining one website is significantly easier than having multiple domains to tend to. Working on getting backlinks will be easier, expenses for site maintenance will be lower, and the general effort that you’ll have to put into building your domain’s authority will be lesser. Beyond this, tracking your website’s analytics and growth will be much easier, and creating ad campaigns will also be much simpler.
- Consistent user experience:
You don’t have to worry about throwing your user around multiple websites to reach their intended destination with a single website strategy. Providing a consistent UX is easier when you have only one website to take care of.
- Planning is everything:
If planned poorly, the architecture of a single huge website can end up being a labyrinth of frontend code that can be difficult to navigate through as a site owner. The possibility of having duplicate and zombie pages that can hurt your SEO.
- Sitewide impact:
If something happens to your server, domain, or CMS, chances are that your whole site will go down for a while and remain inaccessible for the entirety of the human population. This could leave you wishing that you had multiple websites running that would have made the crash affect only a part of your website audience.
Speaking of which:
Multiple Websites Strategy: Pros and Cons
- Great for big teams:
If your enterprise has multiple teams segmented into operating over different regions, a multiple websites strategy can be a great choice. Having ccTLDs can help you with country-specific rankings (more about that later in this post), and your national teams will have not have much trouble coordinating with each other for uploads since they have their own website.
- Selling becomes easy:
As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, having a multiple websites strategy is great if your enterprises has several divisions, subsidiaries, or industry-agnostic products. An example of this would be how Nike owns Converse and Umbro, two huge lifestyle and sports brands, but they still have their own websites since its just easier for customers to associate the brands with their respective websites.
- Better SEO while starting out:
For enterprises that are just stepping into newer markets or launching new brands or subsidiaries, working on the SEO of multiple products or brands from one website might be extremely difficult. Having multiple websites in this case, however, can provide a head start for SEO with exact match domains helping the brand’s search rankings right off the bat.
- The effort:
It simply has to be said again – be prepared to pay and work extra if you are going with the decision of having multiple websites for your brands right before you begin. The time and effort it takes to maintain and nurture multiple websites is significantly more than having just one website.
- SEO drawbacks:
While having multiple websites definitely has its fair share of advantages, one major issue with it is duplicate content penalties. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have different teams maintaining the country-specific websites, or if you have
This should give you a good idea of how the two strategies fare against each other. Now, it’s up to you to pick and choose what would be ideal for your business.
That brings us to the end of the first blog post in our Website Optimization for Enterprises series. We’ll be talking about how to optimize enterprise websites by translating languages in our next post. Join our blog newsletter to get more blog posts like this one delivered straight to your inbox.