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.

Google Understands Language Variations of Words as Synonyms

June 29, 2018 Source

Google tends not to show results in a different language from the one the query is written in. For languages with different dialects, like Spanish, Google will try to understand differences as synonyms.

Only Have One Language on a Page to Ensure it Will Appear in Search

June 26, 2018 Source

If you feature more than one language on the same page, Google may struggle to figure out what the primary language version should be and whether it should be shown for queries for either language.

Only Index Original Language Content if You Use Auto-Translate

June 26, 2018 Source

Auto-translated content is seen as auto-generated content by Google. If you want to do any auto-translating, let Googlebot index the original language content and give a ‘translate this page’ option to users with JavaScript.

GSC May Not Show Data For Your Other Same Language Sites if Content is Identical

June 26, 2018 Source

Hreflang data may only appear for one of your sites in Search Console if the content is identical across a collection of same language sites e.g. UK and US. Use the ‘Inspect URL’ tool to check for issues like this.

Hreflang is Only Needed When the Wrong Language URLs Are Being Shown

May 15, 2018 Source

If you don’t see the wrong country URLs appearing for users searching with a specific language, then it’s not necessary to add hreflang to those pages.

Hreflang Isn’t Needed for a Language Change

March 6, 2018 Source

Hreflang is only needed for instances such as using the same language for different countries. It isn’t needed for a site which changes its language completely.

Automatically Translated Content Should Not Be Indexable

November 14, 2017 Source

Automatically translated pages are seen as automatically generated content and shouldn’t be submitted to be indexed or be made available to users.

Restrict Language in Advanced Search to Check Language is Seen Correctly by Google

October 20, 2017 Source

Can check a page is showing in the correct language by searching for the page and restricting the language in Advanced Search. If the page doesn’t show up then Google thinks they’re in a different language than the one you’ve set.

Use a Single Language per Page

July 7, 2017 Source

It’s OK to have pages in different languages on the same site, but each page should only have content in a single language.

Related Topics

Geotargeting Local Search Hreflang Internationalization