Should I translate URL's of multi-language websites

Hello everyone,

I’m using sub-domains for country specific site versions of my main website. For example,

English version (main website): www iphone-to-pc .com
Spanish version: es . .com
French Version fr . iphone-to-pc .com

But the webpage URL’s of these sites are same. This is how the URL’s look like:

En: www . iphone-to-pc com/how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc html
De: de . iphone-to-pc com/how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc html
Fr: fr . iphone-to-pc com/how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc html
Es: es . iphone-to-pc com/how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc html

Is it okay if I do not translate the URL’s for the language specific sites or URL’s like this wie-print-iphone-text-nachrichten-pc (for German) are more search engine friendly. Should I change my URLs for SEO?

If you are referring to the specific filename (“how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc.html” in your example), then I would say yes, you definitely should translate them. This is partly as a service to your site visitors (who are presumably reading the, say, German version of the page because they understand German better than the other languages); and partly because it might slightly improve your search engine ranking. The URL is one signal (albeit one of many) that the search engines use for ranking, and having the actual words in the URL match those in the search terms might be beneficial.

But if you are referring to the domain name (“iphone-to-pc com”) in your example, I would prefer to leave this as it stands. You already have established sub-domains for the different languages, and it would be counter-productive to change that - not to mention possibly confusing to your existing customers.

In this particular case, I would guess that the words “iphone” and “pc” are well known in most western European languages, so that would be another reason for keeping things as they are.


1 Like

We change our URLs to reflect language. We can do this only because the text part of the URL doesn’t matter, though.

The number on the end is actually what matters in the URL. The text could be removed completely and the link will still work edit: there has to be some text, but it could be foo-bar-baz if you wanted.

So if you switch to French there on that page, you get

This is purely for the humans using the site, a so-called “friendly URL”. The number at the end makes certain the back-end of our system knows which product this is. The product hasn’t changed, the product page even hasn’t changed, just the language. If this is your situation (where only the language changes) then if you can set this up, go do it. People like it.

1 Like

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. Well, I’m not thinking of renaming my sub-domains, I just want to change URL’s/file name of internal pages. For example, I want to change de. iphone-to-pc com/how-print-iphone-text-messages-pc html (German) into de. iphone-to-pc com/wie-print-iphone-text-nachrichten-pc

For this, I will have to permanently redirect (301) old url’s to the new ones, resubmit the sitemaps and most importantly I’m going to lose some organic traffic too. Is it worth the risk?

Hi Stomme_poes

Thank you for the reply. Examples you gave me are very helpful. Yes. In my situation, content remains the same only the language changes. I know it’s more user friendly but is it search engine friendly too? Due to 301 redirection I might lose some organic traffic so I don’t know will it be beneficial or not?

I don’t see why you should lose organic traffic. If you have 301 redirects in place, any user who tries to go to your old URL will be automatically redirected to the new one, as will any traffic coming from search engines. In any case, the benefits of having a meaningful filename - one that matches the content of the page - will outweigh any tiny risk of lost traffic.

If you’re still in doubt, why not experiment on a subset of your pages and monitor the results?


Sound like a great idea! I will start with the pages of the sub-domain where I’m already getting less organic traffic. Thank you!