• http://www.raisemyrank.com/ Bob Gladstein

    Thanks. This is really useful.

    I have one question: since search engines are going to be presented with the page’s content in the language associated with their IP and user-agent language, and because of that they’re going to be presented with the content in different languages on different crawls, and since that content is going to be shared across data centers, do you think there’s going to be an issue with Google recognizing a page as German one day, French the next, and English the day after that?

    Or are you suggesting that they’ll figure out what’s going on over time, and present the German content to German searchers, etc.?

  • http://www.theshiftingparadigms.com S.P.

    Interesting Post! Thanks for the question Bob!

    This is an interesting question because of the way Google’s Panda updates have been handling duplicate content. Is there a specific set of tags that can be presented to tag a site’s version as a specific language when served up, which is of course based on the user’s geo settings, without affecting overall SERP results?

  • http://www.raisemyrank.com/ Bob Gladstein

    Unless I’m missing an important detail here, Maile Ohye seems to disagree with this. The Bruce Clay blog quotes (well, paraphrases) her answering a question at SMX today:

    Q: What if I have url.com and the page can be served in any of several languages?
    Maile: This is not good practice. Separate each language out on different URLs.

    My concern is presenting content to search engine spiders at the root URL of multilingual sites, without forcing users who haven’t accepted a cookie to see the home page in a language other than their own. The company I work for has four such sites, each with either two or three languages, and the way they’ve attempted to deal with this issue in the past hasn’t worked. On a couple of sites they use a JS-based redirect for non-cookied users. Because of that, search engines get a blank page.

    On another site, we default to one language, not by redirecting, but by duplicating that language’s home page at the root. As an example, we put the same content on site.com as we have on english.site.com (which is where users who have indicated an actual preference for English go). That’s not a great option, and it’s decidedly bad in a country where you don’t have a single language that’s clearly used more than the others.

  • http://uk.queryclick.com/ Chris Liversidge

    Hi S.P., and hi Bob!

    There’s a neat solution available to ensure Google gets the right page location and language match each time.

    I covered it in an earlier post on SEL, here: http://searchengineland.com/can-new-multilingual-markup-create-advantages-for-big-brand-optimisation-105384

  • http://www.raisemyrank.com/ Bob Gladstein

    OK, so the idea is to use hreflang to let the search engine know that the content exists in different languages on different URLs, and use user-agent detection to determine which URL to display.

    I do still have to make a decision regarding which language I’m going to use for the content on the domain’s home page. It’s just that that’s less of an issue because most users, even if they follow a link to the domain’s root URL, are going to land on the page that displays their language.

    And once I’ve determined where to send the user to get the content in the right language, what method do I use to send them there? Is it a 302 redirect, so domain.com remains indexed even if the server determines that a particular bot should be sent to the french home page at fr.domain.com?