An important element of international SEO is about ensuring websites are successfully targeting the intended language and providing a positive user experience while also ensuring search engines are able to find and index the relevant content. Our Hangout Notes cover insights from Google around language targeting, as well as best practice recommendations.

Same Language Country Versions Can Cause Problems With Location-specific Information in SERPs

February 19, 2019 Source

Google swapping out URLs for same language country versions of a page can be problematic when the title or structured data shown in the SERPs includes location-specific information, such as pricing. E.g. a Swiss searcher sees the Swiss URL but German pricing in Euros.

Google Folds Together Same Language Country Versions & Swaps Out URLs Dependent on Searcher Location

February 19, 2019 Source

Google identifies different country versions of the same language as duplicates and folds them together for indexing. Google can then swap out the URLs depending on where the search is performed.

Google May Include Translate Link in Search Results for Pages with Multiple Languages

November 27, 2018 Source

If multiple languages are included on one page, Google may include a ‘translate this page’ link in the search results if it can’t determine the primary language of the page.

Partially Translated Pages May Rank if They Are the Best Matched Version

August 24, 2018 Source

Google tries to show the best matched version of a page for users in the language and region that they’re searching for, even if that version is only partially translated.

Google Can Understand Pages Featuring Multiple Languages

July 27, 2018 Source

Google can understand pages that contain multiple languages. For example, a travel site about Spanish cities might be in English but feature Spanish place names.

Google Requires Multilingual Sites to Have Some Form of URL Differentiation

July 13, 2018 Source

Anything that differentiates a URL can work for Google for multilingual sites with hreflang e.g. subdomains, subdirectories or parameters.

Meta Tags Can be Combined in One Tag

July 10, 2018 Source

Meta tags can be combined rather than having to have each one on its own separate line e.g. content=notranslate nositelinkssearchbox.

Links to Different Language Sites Provide Same Value as Same Language Links

June 29, 2018 Source

Links to a different language site provide the same value as links to same language sites.

Use Language Variations in Content Based on What People Search For

June 29, 2018 Source

Consider how a site’s target audience search when deciding what dialect or language to serve content in. If people search using different language variations of a word then it may make sense to include both in your content. However, be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.

Related Topics

Geotargeting Local Search Hreflang Internationalization