How to start a multilingual site: Help from Google to make a google friendly multilingual site

This blog is all about of how to start a multilingual site & various pros in having a multilingual site. Multilingual site is a site where a person can have a site in different languages. But the first thing you’ll want to consider is if it makes sense for you to acquire country-specific top-level domains (TLD) for all the countries you plan to serve. This option is beneficial if you want to target the countries that each TLD is allied with, a method known as geo targeting. Geo targeting is different from language targeting. Geo targeting refers to the sites whose main target is in a particular region/location in the world & it allows you to lay down different geographic targets for different subdirectories or sub domains (e.g., /de/ for Germany). Where as language targeting is one which targets to reach all speakers of a particular language around the world & where you probably don't want to limit yourself to a specific geographic location. In this case you don’t want to use the geographic target tool. Since its difficult to maintain & update multiple domains, its better to buy one non-country-specific domain, which hosts all the different versions of your website. In this case, there are two options which are recommended:



First option is to place the content of every language in a different sub domain. For our example, you would have en.example.com, de.example.com, and es.example.com.
Second option is to place the content of every language in a different subdirectory. This is easier to handle when updating & maintaining your site. For our example, you would have example.com/en/, example.com/de/, and example.com/es/.



There may arise a doubt for some that when same content is posted in different languages then will it result to a duplicate one?? Definitely not, but you should make sure that your site is well organized. And always avoid mixing languages on each page as this may confuse Googlebot as well as your users. It’s always good to have navigation & content in same language on each page. You can also know how many of your pages are recognized in a certain language by performing a language specific site search. Multilingual site is a benefit to the owner of the site & to the visitors of the site as they get information in their language. For example: when a person wants to know fashion designing institutions in London then he may type that query in search along with the language he needs the page to be displayed in. He feels so comfortable when he gets the information in the language he knows & understand.

Official post http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-start-multilingual-site.html

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