Internationalization is the process of creating multiple websites for users in different locations with content in their native language. It is important that these websites are optimized for their target audience and are indexed and served to the correct users in the correct language. Our Hangout Notes cover common questions around internationalization with advice and recommendations for optimizing international websites.

Empty or Thin Pages Can be Served if Different Content is Shown Depending on Location

August 23, 2019 Source

Empty or thin pages may be displayed in Google’s index if different content is served based on the visitor’s location. E.g. if a full content page is served to US visitors but not to non-US visitors, the page might still be indexed as Googlebot crawls from the US but non-US visitors wouldn’t see the content.

Both ccTLDs and GSC Geo-targeting are Equivalent Methods of Country Targeting

August 9, 2019 Source

When determining a country to target, John recommends two main methods. The first is using a ccTLD, the other is using a generic TLD and specifyng the geo-targeting in GSC. Both of these methods are equivalent and used by Google to determine language targeting for websites.

GSC Data Across Duplicate Language Versions Will Only be Shown for Selected Canonical

July 23, 2019 Source

Even if you have hreflang set up correctly, Google can fold together similar language version pages and choose one to index, meaning that data in Google Search Console will only be shown for the one selected canonical page.

Adding New Language Versions Alongside Migration Can Delay Processing

July 23, 2019 Source

For Google to be able to process site migrations quickly, they need to be one-to-one moves. Adding new language versions alongside a migration means Google will need to process each of these versions separately which will take longer.

Using International IP Redirects Will Prevent Google From Finding Other Versions of A Site

July 12, 2019 Source

If you are redirecting based on international IP addresses, Google is likely to only see the redirect to the English version and would drop all of the other versions.

Consider Number of Language Variations When Deciding on Approach to Internationalization

July 9, 2019 Source

Consider the number of language variations when deciding how to configure international versions of a website. If there are many versions you may want to let the user decide which version they want to view, but if there are only a few versions you may be able to guess for them.

Make Pages Accessible to Googlebot For Each Language Version of a Page

July 9, 2019 Source

For sites with redirects based on the user’s IP or browser language, John recommends having landing pages available for each individual language, including hreflang on each with an x-default to the main page.

Translating Core Pages Can Help Google Understand a Language Change

June 25, 2019 Source

If a website wants to target a particular language to appear for in search, translating core pages that are internally linked the most, like the homepage, can help Google to understand the language change. However, this doesn’t guarantee improved rankings for the target language.

Googlebot Does Crawl From a Handful of Regional IPs

June 14, 2019 Source

Googlebot does crawl from a small number of regional IPs, particularly in countries where they know it is hard to crawl from the US.

Related Topics

Geotargeting Language Local Search Hreflang