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Mixed Language Pages

Does Google recognise?



7:20 pm on Sep 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have quite an uncommon question:
I am planning to launch a bilingual dictionary site. And I wonder if I use two meta tags for two different language for the same page such as:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="other language">

Will Google pick up the first, second, or both for the page in question?
Or, is it possible to indicate that the page is in mixed language?

I know that there is another way to specify language for individual blocks of text such as: <p lang="en">some English text</p>

I am asking this question out of ranking concerns. Because, I know that many users use Google with a local interface (language, codepage, etc.). But many others use international (English) interface. So, ranking in one language and optimizing for it involves ignoring the other language which is least desirable for a bilingual dictionary site.

Is there a way to solve this seeming dilemma without designing two different pages for the two languages, and redirecting visitors according to some defined parameters (such as geolocation, or browser language, etc.)?


12:44 am on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

You cannot unfortunately define two default languages for one page - you have to define the primary language for the document, then the secondary language is indicated for the blocks in that language.

You should use the

attribute rather than the meta element for defining the primary language:

<html [b]lang="en"[/b]>

Otherwise, don't define a default at all but mark up each section with the appropriate



4:54 pm on Sep 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you Encyclo for the suggestion.

I will certainly follow your suggestion. But I am curious about whether using <lang="other language"> tag can halp to rank better for the "other language" in SERPs.

In fact, I have another dictionary with "en" as the default language. Curiously enough, it performs excellently in the "other language" even though great majority of searches are from the local Google, and with the "search in Other Language" option (currently at #1-#4 for a target keywords in the other language. And this observation might seem contradict the recommendation for selecting a primary language.

I deliberately preferred "en" as the default language, but I used the codepage for the other language:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-9">
Can this codepage setting be the critical factor?


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