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languages and sitemaps

where to put language specific urls in sitemaps

     
3:14 pm on Feb 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My site is in French and English (main content is French).
Today, I use a sitemap index to point to 24 separate sitemaps.

All the URLs in the sitemaps are language specific - French.
I now need to put the English versions ... somewhere.

Does it matter where?
Should I be creating separate language specific sitemaps or can I "safely" put French and English URLs into the same sitemap ?

I haven't seen it, but are there specific language nodes which will need to be declared to correctly identify the language of each page ?

Hope someone can help with this.
4:50 am on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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there is no sitemap.xml markup to specify the language of the urls submitted or contents thereof.
that would be specified within the document itself and/or the HTTP Response headers.

note that the urls in the sitemap must be within the scope of the sitemap's location. (scheme, hostname, port and directory)
to submit sitemaps for another host you need to Cross Submit Sitemaps:
http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html#location

i mention this because i assume your english language urls are in a separate subdomain or subdirectory.
8:03 am on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Are you asking about sitemaps for humans or sitemaps for search engines?

Search engines don't give a ### what language your page is in. If it exists, they want to index it.* Language is just one more detail. What is important is to make sure each individual page carries the appropriate language information. That's the only way a search engine can get it right when people ask for "only pages written in language nnn". Unlike a human, a search engine can't just look with its eyeballs and see that this page is in French.

If the pages are linked from anywhere, the search engine will find them. The sitemap is just insurance.


* Except Yandex, which-- unlike g###-- is honest about which languages it doesn't know.
8:32 am on Feb 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thank you phranque and lucy24 for your comments.

Yes, you are right phranque, I am indeed carrying my english version in a subdomain eg :
en.example.com

From what you have said, would I be right in understanding that I would need a separately submitted sitemap dedicated to this subdomain ?

Simon