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Hi there this is my first post, so first of all, sorry for being boring or for any mistakes.

I have read many posts on how to correctly index a multi-language site but none of them really answer my question.

This is my scenario:
I have a two language (Italian, and English) site [www.zicaffe.com] with all contents correctly localized (meta infos, title, page descriptions and so on).
As suggested by Google each page has its unique URL (with localized keywords) that identifies a page and its (localized) content (eg. www.zicaffe.com/en/company.aspx identifies the English version while www.zicaffe.com/it/azienda.aspx the Italian one). Each page includes a cross-link which allows users to manually switch to the other available language.

Apparently this is supposed to be the perfect scenario, but there's an exception regarding the home (index) page:
Accessing www.zicaffe.com, the site automatically redirects the browser, through a 301 Moved permanently, to a localized version of the page: www.zicaffe.com/en/home.aspx if the browser send en or en-US accept-language in the header; to www.zicaffe.com/it/home.aspx if the browser accepts it or it-IT or to the default language (Italian yet) otherwise.

These are the questions:
1) Since googlebot is not sending any accept language in the header, it is going to show only the default language version of the home page in the SERP?

2) For some reason (probably because we are an Italian company?), right now only the Italian pages (default language) have a page rank and a sitelink. Is it normal?

and the most important:
3) What happens if in the future I change the default site language to English? Am I going to lose all the good results achieved for Italian queries?

Please do not suggest to read the following posts:

Any other answer would be precious.

Regards.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 29 '11 at 9:09

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2 Answers 2

Do you still have the link to switch languages on the homepage (so that Google has a way to get from www.zicaffe.com to www.zicaffe.com/en/home.aspx)? If so, I think you probably just need to wait for Google to index.

In terms of only having page rank for the Italian pages, are the links that you have mostly links to the Italian pages? Could it just be a reflection of the actual links to your site?

The one thing in this scenario that seems questionable to me is the 301 redirect from the home page. A 301 says that the redirect is permanent and should never be evaluated again, but the redirect isn't always to the same place. That sounds more like a 302 to me...

For your third question, if your Italian pages are still highly accessible within the site, I wouldn't think that switching the default language would get the Google index too turned around.

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Sorry but I just read your message.

Question 1: Yes I still have links to switch language. The links are clickable flags and they are located in every page.

Question 2: In the webmaster tools I see I have a bunch of links coming from Italian sites, but the 80% come from foreign countries: Germany, Hungary, eastern countries but very few come from UK or U.S. I think one reason for having good results just in Italian queries is for the geographic position of my server. I knew this is one of the parameters Google takes in consideration...

Question 3 I'm agree with you that a 301 redirect from www.zicaffe.com to /it/... or /en/... is not suggestable and I was considering to change (or try to change) it. With a 302 I would not lose the old URL (zicaffe.com) for the new one (zicaffe.com/it/home.aspx) that is what I'd like to obtain. Somewhere I was reading that 302 is usable for just a short period and not all site life long...do you know anything about it?

Question 4: I even posses zicaffe.it domain, and I'm considering to do a 301 redirect to zicaffe.com/it/... and (as already told) change .com version with English default language ... I'm pretty scared to lose the good results achieved with an operation like that.

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