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Google Announces Markup For Multilingual Sites

2:21 pm on Dec 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google Announces Markup For Multilingual Sites [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com]
Specifying language and location
We've expanded our support of the rel="alternate" hreflang link element to handle content that is translated or provided for multiple geographic regions. The hreflang attribute can specify the language, optionally the country, and URLs of equivalent content. By specifying these alternate URLs, our goal is to be able to consolidate signals for these pages, and to serve the appropriate URL to users in search. Alternative URLs can be on the same site or on another domain.

Annotating pages as substantially similar content
Optionally, for pages that have substantially the same content in the same language and are targeted at multiple countries, you may use the rel="canonical" link element to specify your preferred version. We’ll use that signal to focus on that version in search, while showing the local URLs to users where appropriate. For example, you could use this if you have the same product page in German, but want to target it separately to users searching on the Google properties for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
6:58 am on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Wow, this comes late to my party. I've struggled to get this all sorted out for many sites over the years. I'm glad to see the progress, but I could have used this a long while ago.

If anyone has a multi-language or multi-country site that got hit by Panda, this new mark-up is something I would suggest trying out.
9:54 am on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tedster, if I have a site where the English version has recovered from panda but the French version (in a subdomain) has not recovered, would your advice to 'try it out' still apply?

My concern is that the supposed 'poor quality' of the French version might drag the English version back down with it rather than the French version benefitting.
2:58 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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well i have a question about something similar to this.
Do you think it has a difference to google if my languages are separated in a way like subdomains or language folders?

i mean which is better for google , if any:
es.site.com or site.com/es
Does any of the choices have advantages/disadvantages over the other?
3:04 pm on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've been using link relationships for years. Why? Because it's in the HTML Instructions.

6.12 Link Types

12.3.3 Links and Search Engines

Note: WebmasterWorld's redirect script strips Fragment Identifiers (BAD Webmaster!).

The example they utilize for 12.3.3 focuses on the document language (multilingual) and has for many, many, years.

If you follow the instructions for the markup you are utilizing, you'll be well ahead of any markup support Google may "publicly" announce. Note the word "publicly".