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Google is not ranking my newer multi-language urls

 8:44 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)


It's been a while since I've really studied Google's algorithms but I have a question for anyone that is up to date on them.

I have a site, let's call it www.example.com and it has been on page #1 of the SERPS since about 2006 for its one word keyword (the name of a large city). About a year ago, I decided to add a second language and make the English the secondary language to appeal more broadly to the local market. So I moved the English content from www.example.com to www.example.com/en

Well, a year later Google still hasn't picked up the English index /en

About a month ago it came back on page 6 of the SERPS, then dropped to page 13, then to 16 and now it is gone again.

I can say, being quite objective, that it easily one of the top sites in its niche in terms of size, quality, content, etc so this is pretty surprising.

Any ideas as to why Google won't pick it back up?

[edited by: tedster at 9:47 pm (utc) on July 17, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example [/edit]



 10:56 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

You've got an entire directory that's been on the server for a year and it's not in the index? Are you watching your server logs and your Webmaster Tools for evidence of crawling problems?


 11:35 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's no problem with any of the usual suspects... .htacces and robots.txt are fine. It is in the index with many 1,000s of pages of real content, the problem is that its just not ranking for its main keyword now that the content has been moved to /en - the crawling is fine.

I thought that Google would pick it up quickly. The site was on www.example.com in English and in the top 10 for years. The only change I made was to move the English content to www.example.com/en. Google no longer ranks the English site for its main keyword... but it has indexed the English content and it does spider it. The issue is that the main English page, now at www.example.com/en, won't rank.

I imagine it's because many links went to www.example.com and not www.example.com/en and are now mismatched with the language, but still... I don't see why Google doesn't know that. The site is clearly has the most extensive content for a well-defined topic.

[edited by: Rollo at 11:45 pm (utc) on July 17, 2009]


 11:40 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see - it's a ranking issue, not an indexing issue.

Did you use 301 redirects from the old to the new urls? If not, you may have cutoff off the natural backlink power that you accumulated since 2006.


 11:49 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, it wasn't just that English was moved but another language was added to the www.example.com so I didn't know that it would be possible as the old URLs are occupied now by a different language. That is www.example.com is in a non-English language now and does rank fine in Google in its language. The issue is that the English site won't come back in Google.com.


 2:06 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

the old URLs are occupied now by a different language.

Then, unfortunately, you really painted yourself into a corner. I'd suggest you do a backlink study for the old urls and contact the various webmasters with the new English urls. I'm sure they don't want to be linking to a non-English page. Many of those backlinks may have already evaporated.

Also, get really serious about publicizing the new urls for your English content so you attract fresh backlinks.

If things weren't already a year down the road, I might suggest creating all new urls for the non-English pages. Then you could put in the 301 redirects. But with a year of history in this new configuration, you'd be hurting your non-English rankings.

But definitely do the backlink study. You may find just a few key urls that are well backlinked. Then you can change and 301 just those.


 2:57 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, I agree. Bad decision and it has cost me a fortune in revenues as well. I expected a couple months of adjustments, but not over a year. Not sure why Google's algo can't figure this out and adjust. Is there any language sensitive redirection that exists for links (sort of like for browsers)? Like if source page = English go here... if source page = French go here... etc? Most sites just link to the home page no matter what the langauge.

I've got hundreds of backlinks, 90% of them to the wrong language. I can't even get DMOZ to update... I've submitted the change request every three months and nothing... ufff.

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