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Redirecting based on browser default language
homeini




msg:4254590
 12:12 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hello,

I have a multi-language website with different URLs for each language, eg:
- Home:
http://example.com/ -> Spanish
http://example.com/en -> English
http://example.com/fr -> French
- Another page
http://example.com/pet/lassie -> Spanish
http://example.com/en/pet/lassie -> English
http://example.com/fr/pet/lassie -> French

Now we are planning to redirect the user from one language to another depending on the language of his/her browser and we raise some doubts, especially about how to make Google (or another search engine) to find and index pages in any of the three languages.

- The redirects from one language to another would be 301, 302 or other?
- Googlebot has set a default language? This is one of the things that interest us, because if it's English, we do not want to always redirect Google to the English version.
- Is there any official post or link of Google talking about this particular issue? We could not find it.
- Do you have any experience on this subject that you can share with me?

Thanks in advance.

Greetings.

[edited by: tedster at 3:18 pm (utc) on Jan 18, 2011]
[edit reason] make example urls visible [/edit]

 

tedster




msg:4254720
 6:29 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've seen a lot of indexing troubles when sites automatically redirect based on the browser language - or even based on the IP, for that matter. In addition, there are user problems because not every user has a default browser language set properly. My neighbor, for example, is using a second hand computer that he bought from someone in another country. People also travel and borrow other computers, and this kind of redirect can confound their access to your site.

I feel the best thing is simply to offer links for language choices to the user - rather than trying to think ahead for them. I know that as a traveler, I really appreciate that kind of courtesy. I've been locked out of information too often, just because I was not at home.

To answer your specific questions - no, as far as I know googlebot does not issue a language preference with its requests. And the common communication from Google on this kind of issue is that they want you to treat googlebot exactly the same as any other user agent request.

LifeinAsia




msg:4254776
 7:29 pm on Jan 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with tedster- let the user make the choice.

I hate when I travel abroad and Google defaults to the local language (even though I go to google.com) and I have to search for a link to the English version.

Similarly, I hate when I use my wife's laptop to check my Hotmail messages and it defaults to Korean.

estoniaweb




msg:4284646
 5:05 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

But if I really need to redirect all people from once certain country to another dummy page and leave others all to the real page then what would be the best way of doing that in terms of Google robot?

tedster




msg:4284654
 5:17 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Cloaking is when you filter for googlebot as a user agent or for googlebot IP addresses. If you only redirect based on the country, then googlebot will be treated the same as any other visitor from that country - and googlebot's official IPs are currently all US.

estoniaweb




msg:4284656
 5:25 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just want googlebot to see the website that everyone else except from that one country.

Leosghost




msg:4284660
 5:39 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just want googlebot to see the website that everyone else except from that one country.

So in that case filter by IP ( for that country )..if "that" country is the USA..you'll have to be more complex ..

Btw ..I have also seen on rare occasions Gbot come out of Germany , India , and Japan..very very rarely ..but they do not always stick to what they officially tell us that they do..that would make cloaking too easy ;-)

HuskyPup




msg:4284675
 6:02 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld estoniaweb

I detest it when a site "sniffs and assumes" where I am from.

I speak several languages and quite often want to research sites in the local language and I use Google.cctld sites more than .com when I am searching for something specific.

I know this is not the question you were asking however it is important to let your users choose rather than forcing them upon your perceived choice.

estoniaweb




msg:4284695
 6:31 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

The business is selling offshore companies in Latvia and the idea is that anyone who's browser language is set as "Latvian" won't see that page. Will be redirected to a page that contains nothing important. Anyone else will see the SEO optimised website with lot of information, price calculator and all the rest.

Leosghost




msg:4284718
 7:15 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I detest it when a site "sniffs and assumes" where I am from.

I speak several languages and quite often want to research sites in the local language and I use Google.cctld sites more than .com when I am searching for something specific.

Agreed ( emphatically ) Husky ;-)..but I figured that estoniaweb's situation might be as (s)he described it ..but estoniaweb and others should also be careful that the IP that is "diverted" is not occasionally used by other neighboring countries or vice versa ..

This does happen in France ..we normally have an easily identifiable IP range ..but in this last month some IPs assigned by the French ISPs are what would normally be considered to be German IPs.

ps ..Have you allowed for those whose browser language is set for Latvian ..but are not in Latvia ?

HuskyPup




msg:4284730
 7:52 pm on Mar 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

The business is selling offshore companies in Latvia and the idea is that anyone who's browser language is set as "Latvian" won't see that page.


Ahhh...so are you go to send them to the Isle of Man, Jersey or Delaware etc? :-)

Why would you want to prevent Latvians from reading your site? There are loads of sites with Latvian offshore banking information, it's not as though it's a secret.

LunaC




msg:4284953
 10:49 am on Mar 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I travel permanently and have ran into auto redirection being a problem quite often, so I'm tossing in another request to not redirect automatically.

If you want to offer multiple languages, the best way for the user (in my personal experience at least) has been images of flags linked to the language. The reason for that is that sometimes we won't be able to read the name of our language in another language but we will easily recognize a flag.

I had that happen when Google decided to be 'helpful' and switch my language to Arabic based on my location at that time. With a different layout and alphabet I couldn't find how to switch it back for days. (I finally had to get help with it!) Had it been any site other than Google, I would have just left and mentally added it to my list of annoying sites, never to visit again.

It's also a problem if using someone else's computer (a friend, internet café etc.) and the browser is set to another language. Just because the computer speaks the local (or set) language, doesn't mean the current user does.

estoniaweb




msg:4285117
 3:54 pm on Mar 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know it's a hard decision but it's my customer's demand to me. I explained that it's not a good idea and who cares anyway but he's lawyer and want's that if someone Google's his name and then in the search results that website selling offshore companies will come up then when someone from Latvia will click on that link then (s)he will end up in a dummy landing page that will give a feeling that page doesn't exist any more.

As I need to do also the internet marketing and SEO for that website, I'm just wondering how to do it technically. I need to make sure that website is in a good positions in Google when searched in UK. Was thinking about this way with PHP: [cagedflame.com...]

Leosghost




msg:4285128
 4:23 pm on Mar 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I need to make sure that website is in a good positions in Google when searched in UK.

Hosting the site in the UK would help ;-)
There is at least one hoster whose system allows you to host in one EU country and appear to surfers and SE's to be hosted in others .

HuskyPup




msg:4285134
 4:32 pm on Mar 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

t's my customer's demand to me


It's at times like this one has to tell the customer that what they feel is a good idea is actually very stupid or extremely naïve at best.

Does your customer believe that Latvians are technically non-proficient enough to know how to find out these answers?

Honestly, what your client is expecting you to do is, to put it politely, barmy...in my opinion!

estoniaweb




msg:4285382
 12:17 am on Mar 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yep, I am using UK hosting company NuBlue. Looking for bit better cost effective VPS provider but so far happy.

My customer definitely is quite "IT-dumb" but small point there is in his demand - when he's competitors Google his name and find lot of results and one of them will end up in a dummy holding page then they most probably won't start thinking of changing their browser's language to access that page.

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