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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist Pixelateur's Avatar
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    Question How to optimise bilingual website?

    Hi,

    I am currently working on a bilingual website (English/German), and I want to optimise it for Google & Co. When the user enters the site, a PHP script will detect the user's system language and the user will be redirected to the website in his language, i.e. to www.website.com/de/ (if the system language is German) OR to www.website.com/en/ (in all other cases).

    Do you guys think this is generally a good idea? I once read that Google & Co. dislike meta-refereshs and page redirecting of this kind. Can anybody confirm this? What would be a more search engine friendly way to lay out this site? Any feedback is much appreciated...

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist asprookie's Avatar
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    No, do like the pros do, put flags on top so that the visitors will make the obvious choice.

    From a user standpoint, I like to be given a choice, I hate it when the website tries to force me into something.

    Say I'm German but using a friend computer in Los Angeles, based on your script, I'd be directed and forced into the English version.

    A lot of big websites are guilty of doing this, like say you're in the UK and type Google.com or Yahoo.com or even E-Bay, they will automatically direct you to the UK version based from your IP.

    Not a good idea unless the gouvernement decide so and has laws for that.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I do not think they like meta refresh and i would do like the person above said. Give people the option what language they want.

  4. #4
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Using PHP to determine their language is not a bad idea and doing that won't affect your SEO. But be sure you give the user an opportunity to choose their language as well just in case you don't choose their preferred language.

  5. #5
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
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    Who told you to use a meta refresh? Use a 301 or 302 redirect.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist Pixelateur's Avatar
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    Hi guys, thanks for your feedback. I think I'm gonna go with a PHP language detection solution. That seems most appropriate and saves the user at least one decision making node. I'm still a bit worried that search engines may not "get" the bilingual structure of the site. Every page will be within either the "/en/" or the "/de/" directory which doesn't exactly help to keep the file hierarchy flat. Also, I'm afraid that Google may not rate a page www.site.com/en/keyword.htm as high as a page named www.site.com/keyword.htm. If anybody has an idea how to handle this, please let me know. Thanks a lot...

  7. #7
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
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    You could always do site.com/keyword.htm?lang=en etc.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member
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    From my experience with trying to optimise for various countries, the BEST way is to have separate domains with the countries TLD as this lets the Se's know the target country. Hosting is also an issue. If you have a .com hosted in the UK and are trying to target Germany, Google will assume as it's hosted in the UK, it's for UK users so won't show up in the results in Germany if people select Pages from Germany when searching. My dad has this problem with his site, he has a .com, but it's hosted in the US and he is targeting the UK. His site shows up when people search the web, but not when they have selected pages from the UK. I have told him many times to get his hosting changed, but he's stubborn and it's taking time for him to get around to it.

  9. #9
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelateur View Post
    a PHP script will detect the user's system language and the user will be redirected to the website in his language, i.e. to www.website.com/de/ (if the system language is German) OR to www.website.com/en/ (in all other cases).
    Wouldn't this always force Google and other SE bots to the English only pages?

  10. #10
    Non-Member Waraas's Avatar
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    Google might see that as cloaking.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member
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    Re:

    Yes, it is right that Meta refresh tag is not beneficial in purview of Google. If you are working with bilingual site, then you should add an option on the top of the site to opt the desired language by the visitors.

  12. #12
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waraas View Post
    Google might see that as cloaking.
    It's not cloaking so they won't see it that way.

  13. #13
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    Wouldn't this always force Google and other SE bots to the English only pages?
    Not if they have links to the other language versions and/or submit an XML sitemap.


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