phranque - 9:48 am on Nov 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
how i'd like to respond to google's weak excuses for this policy:
You can help Google determine the language correctly by using a single language for content and navigation on each page, and by avoiding side-by-side translations.
once we get better at this language stuff, you could help even moreso by properly specifying the primary language for the document and for any elements containing an alternate language.
Translating only the boilerplate text of your pages while keeping the bulk of your content in a single language (as often happens on pages featuring user-generated content) can create a bad user experience if the same content appears multiple times in search results with various boilerplate languages.
there are plenty of people who can get directions in english but want to speak french once they get there.
actually the bad user experience is google's inability to recognize languages.
you would think that an element in a document with an alternate language specification would be a pretty strong signal, but we'll discover that when we get better at this language stuff.