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Site in different languages

Creating a website in different languages



3:26 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm going to setup a new site initially in two languages. From google optimization point of view, what's the best way of doing it: two domains, one for each language; two directory structures under the same domain; any other way?

At the moment I'm thinking of having a directory for each language i.e. website/en (for English) etc. Would google consider it duplication of pages if the site has the same content in different languages under different subdirectories?

Thanks in advance.


4:05 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If the domains are available to you register foreign domain names - e.g. for French translation register yoursite.fr. From an SEO standpoint this is most effective as a French person will use google.fr which gives preference to results from French domain names.


4:21 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

For the other question you asked, the answer is no, translated pages are not duplicates.


6:37 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just to clarify for myself, so if I have two domains with exact same content but in different languages it's not considered duplication of pages?

What about having one site with a link to switch between languages, so one url would have different content (depending on the current language). How would google treat this kind of setup?

I now think it's best to have two domains, but not sure at this stage if I can get this foreign domain.

Thank you.


8:06 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm running several types of sites in several languages....

It's a part of the strategy to be in a market with local versions of the sites. But the sites have the same content (in it's own languages), structure and so on....

I'm linking between the languages, but I also get local links.

I'm at the top of the SERPS ;-)

Hope the can help you a bit


11:35 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There is a similar thread here at [webmasterworld.com...] from a different viewpoint: subdomain vs. subdirectory.
It seems that we have three options:
1. subdomains 2. subdirectories, or 3. a separate domain for each language.
Taking the two threads into consideration collectively, can we assume that option #2 has some advantages over option #3 such as:
- Internal pages in subdirectories with a backlingk to the homepage tend to increase the PR of the homepage, and hence reinforce its "authority." Any additional backlinks from other sites to language subdirectories will add to the main page also.
- Outgoing links from the homepage to the language sites may lead to a PR "leakage." Assume that you have some 20 language sites. This means that you would place 20 outgoing links on your homepage. Also, links from the language pages back to the main site may lead to an impression of networking, or at best, a reciprocal link scheme which in turn may lead to a dampening of the value of backlinks.

Another question that may be raised is whether the language metatag or the country specific domainname has more weight in the eyes of a search engine.

This is really an interesting topic on which I would like to hear more opinions, especially from those with some relevant experience.


3:09 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my sites grew from 0 to 10.000 unique daily users (viewing about 30.000 content pages) within 3 years doing this:

The entrance page is created in the 3 languages of the web, auto-showing first the content in the http-accept language of the user if it fits to one of the web languages, if not, in English.

So if someone enters www.mysite.com or mysite.com he would get this, and robots normally logically get the English content first.

Inside the web is working with a frameset (navigation bars + content area/frame), each site shown up in the content-frame works even as an entrance-page (explaining the web, simple onside navigation etc.) if not shown in the frame-context and has links to the other language versions of this site.

Next I created sub-domains like [firstlanguage.mysite.com,...] [secondlanguage.mysite.com...] etc. pointing on the same physically directory on the server but showing up the content of the entrance page in one language only, so entering there a bot would get the content in the other languages too.

And finally I 'located' www.mysite.com and mysite.com by IP the zone-area of server's home country, and [english.mysite.com...] by IP in the zone-area of, for example, the USA and [suaheli.mysite.com...] by IP in the zone-area of, for example, the Swaziland

The main search engines (like for example google) spider www.mysite.com and take notice of the existence of the rest, and with some special search requests they also show up results from the sub-domains, but normally all is going by the main domain.

Less important search engines spider all (if I admit it) like it were unique domains and show up all, but nobody uses this search engines.

The site is listed well in all main search engines, reality is, that users entering from search engines come per 92% from google, 5% from yahoo, 1% from msn, 1% from other search engines.

So seeing the site listed the same manner in all search engines maybe that yahoo is number 2 and msn is number 3 in the search engine listings, but looking up a the absolute numbers they're producing they don't have any importance yet.


12:55 am on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks a lot all for your replies. At the moment I'm thinking of registering the second domain (the second language is Russian). As for the argument that one domain will have more pages linking back to the index page, therefore increasing it's ranking I don't think it's applicable in my case - both domains are new, and both will have quite a few pages. So what I'll have is:

domain1/en/ - English version
domain1/translit/ - Transliteration

domain2/win1251/ - Russian encoding
domain2/koi8/ - Russian encoding
possibly other encodings

Which brings me to another couple of questions. Would google consider the transliterated version of the website as some garbage as it really isn't a language? Or would it be aware of transliterated websites, what about adsense on these pages? And wouldn't different Russian encodings be considered duplicates?



6:31 pm on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

h8dk70 why would you want a transliterated page? And aren't all russian pages viewable in whatever charset? I'm a student of russian, so just interested here. And for example I can view a russian website on my computer here without messing with charsets, etc. so do you really need to provide a sites with different charsets?


12:13 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

more charsets = more people can read the pages

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