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Optimizing sites in different languages

Spanish and English

     
8:25 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Were in the process of setting up our widgets site in Spanish. There will be a link on the header to get to the Spanish version. The look and feel of the site will be the same as our English site, just translated in Spanish. Although the products will still be in English, because thats the physical name of the product. (BTW, Will this be an issue?)

I don't think this would cause any duplication issues because it's in different languages, but I guess I'm looking for confirmation.

Which of the following approach be the best way to set this up:

English version: www.widgets.com
Spanish version: http:/es.widgets.com or www.widgets.com/es

Can they be hosted on the same server? Also would the main site pass some link flow tot he Spanish?

As for getting links to the Spanish version, I was looking to get links from Spanish widget sites, local directories, and so on.. Any advise on this.

I'm not sure if I'm over lookging anything on this project but please feel free to provide suggestions and feedback.

8:42 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Whatever you do, don't use the format:
[es.widgets.com...]

I made the mistake of doing this and the Spanish version suffered from Google looking at as duplicate content.

Matt Cutts recommended somewhere that you use a separate TLD where possible e.g. [widgets.es...] to differentiate localised versions.

8:44 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It all sounds good to me. No duplicate content problems - because the content is NOT not the same. Duplicate measurement is not (and should never be) about meaning, only about matching character strings.

I am involved withn one site that follows your plan exactly - backlinksin the same language, etc. They've been cooking for four years now with this setup, and their Google traffic comes from the language specific Google domains, just as you would expect.

We chose to go with directories rather than subdomains. At the time of launch, there was a lot of subdomain spam and we wanted avoid any issues raised by subdomains. That particular choice probably doesn't make a lot of difference, but I still have the sense that links within a subdomain are more easily handled by the algorithm.

All the language versions of the site are hosted on the smae server, same IP address. One thing I advise is using langauge specific file names - even if the image or whatever file is identical, still make a copy and give it a translated name. Image search traffic will be better, for one thing, and the resulting urls etc will be friendlier for the target audience.

8:46 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I made the mistake of doing this and the Spanish version suffered from Google looking at as duplicate content.

We were typing at the same time - and our experiences are obviously different. I've never heard of translated content being tagged as a duplicate of that in another language. Are you completely sure that was the problem?

9:21 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It seems like you both experienced things differently.

We chose to go with directories rather than subdomains. At the time of launch, there was a lot of subdomain spam and we wanted avoid any issues raised by subdomains. That particular choice probably doesn't make a lot of difference, but I still have the sense that links within a subdomain are more easily handled by the algorithm.

So are you saying that you would have done it this way back then if you could have?: es.widgets.com

Is there any disadvantages or advantages doing it: widgets.com/es/?

One thing I advise is using langauge specific file names - even if the image or whatever file is identical, still make a copy and give it a translated name.

You mean if you have a file name or graphic name: ‘music’ then label it as /musica.html or musica.gif, correct?

Also, some of the left menu category links or products as I mentioned before can’t be translated, will that be an issue?

Matt Cutts recommended somewhere that you use a separate TLD where possible e.g. http://www.example.es to differentiate localised versions.

Do you recall where I can find this info and provide a link. I just want to make sure I set this up the right way.

Thanks.

[edited by: tedster at 12:35 am (utc) on Oct. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] de-link the example urls [/edit]

11:00 pm on Oct 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We were typing at the same time - and our experiences are obviously different. I've never heard of translated content being tagged as a duplicate of that in another language. Are you completely sure that was the problem?

More accurately, it was a Canonicalization issue. The same URL structure, same product images - only the text was different. Actually, I think that the reason that you have had a different experience is because you did not use the same URL structure, by localizing the filenames.

Do you recall where I can find this info and provide a link. I just want to make sure I set this up the right way.

I tried searching, but couldn't find the post. Maybe someone else has it bookmarked?
12:55 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts recommended somewhere that you use a separate TLD where possible e.g. http://www.example.es to differentiate localised versions.

I remember that, but cannot find the original right now. Maybe it was in a video file, or maybe I need to use a different search engine ;)

At any rate, my memory says that Matt was not talking about different languages, but for instance .co.uk vs .com.au and so on. He has also, at times, recommended a country specific tld as a good way to get into the local Google results, and in that case the duplicate filtering (note this is NOT a penalty) works in your favor by offering the correct version to the correct country-specific results. Well, that is the intention at any rate.

In our case, we were only translating about 60 pages, and going to the trouble of buying a ccTLD for each language did not make much sense, especially given some of the residency and "local business presence" requirements. If you can go with the ccTLD, I don't know of any downside.

Is there any disadvantages or advantages doing it: widgets.com/es/?

I've seen better results. In fact, I now have two enterprise level clients who are using directories for translated content and they are doing quite well. They naturally have a high PR, so that is probably helping them as well. When you're serving content in many languages, I think it's also helpful to get all the server http headers right, the meta data as well, and to use the lang= attribute for the html element.

If you have a file name or graphic name: ‘music’ then label it as /musica.html or musica.gif, correct?

Correct.

some of the left menu category links or products as I mentioned before can’t be translated, will that be an issue?

Did a native speaker tell you that? Or are those menu labels just trademarks that stay the same in any language? At any rate, translate everything you can to change the footprint of the page maximally and make it clearly NOT a duplicate.

Be 100% sure to have unique title elements and meta descriptions for all pages, in the correct language and specific only to that page.

PS: Back in 2004 when I was working with my first translation project,
we had a thread in the HTML forum that might also be helpful for you:
Creating HTML mark-up for languages you don't know [webmasterworld.com]

7:58 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I like the idea of using local language file names in URLs.

But what are the risks in changing file names (to local language keywords etc) after the site has already been indexed with the original (English language) file names?

Is there a safe way of doing this? For example, would you 301 redirect all the file name URLs to the new (foreign language) file name URLs? And how long would this take to correct itself in terms of indexing?

9:06 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You may read how Google says about this:

Use top-level domains: To help us serve the most appropriate version of a document, use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content. We're more likely to know that www.example.de contains Germany-focused content, for instance, than www.example.com/de or de.example.com.
9:28 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't know for the long run, but my "example.com/de/" is working fine, pages get spidered and listed in google quickly, just like the others.
1:49 pm on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a similar issue going on right now - I'm putting up an English translation of a German site for a neighbor of mine. The domain is .de, and all the German pages are already in Google; I am putting the English translations in www.example.de/en and am hoping they are indexed as well. And yes, I translated the file names to English too, so as to have English urls - glad I did, after reading this.
1:13 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks everyone. All the above info has been very helpful.
1:41 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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For my experience www.widgets.com/es like that to put it works correctly.

I think that to make with subdomains like that can be better long-term but short-term and for few index-linked pages ww.widgets.com/es is better of another method.

[edited by: Errioxa at 1:43 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:54 am (utc) on Oct. 24, 2007]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

12:59 pm on Oct 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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so to clarify....

have site.com/de/
mirror the content on to site.de

and no duplication penalty?

and get ranking on both local and internaitional search for german (in this case)?

2:58 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have a site that is in Spanish and English. The main page is Spanish and then there are several sub-webs that are either English or Spanish. Everything is great and never had any problems at all in G or any other search engines. The only small problem we have had is targeting of AdSense - sometimes Spanish ads appear on English pages and our AdSense contact has been helping us resolve the issue.