Sign up ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

After watching a hundreds of threads about multilanguage website I haven't found an answer to my specific problem, so I think its not a common issue and I must have done something terribly wrong ;-)

We have a website in DE main language and the following subfolders:

  • /de/ = canonical of / + redirect to /
  • /it/
  • /en/

When I crawl for EN keywords or for IT keywords then I get as results the homepage in German language (both title and description) as the top result with no trace of the /it/ or the /en/ homepage.

Is this because /it/ and /en/ both needs a separate link building strategy?

I've already configured Google webmaster tool into the following way:

  •, no language preference
  •, de language
  •, it language
  •, en language

Perhaps having "/" as DE main page is it wrong and I should use a different approach? i.e. like having "/" to be a 301 to /de/ instead ?

Thanks in advance.

share|improve this question

migrated from May 19 '11 at 11:15

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Are you using Content-Language meta tags as well on each of the subsites? – paulmorriss May 19 '11 at 11:40
@paulmorriss yes, i'm using it, for example: <html xmlns="" lang="en" xml:lang="en"> <meta http-equiv='content-language' content='en' /> – Antonio May 19 '11 at 19:15
@Antonio: what happens when you google ''or ''? Are your pages indexed? – Ciaran May 20 '11 at 4:11
@Ciaran yes i've 69.000 pages indexed an /it/ and /en/ are there using the page show 1st of the list with the right language and description – Antonio May 20 '11 at 12:17
@Ciaran, @paulmorriss it could be that DMOZ listen me as and i've some 301 redirect wrong? should i try adding robots header with NOODP? – Antonio May 20 '11 at 12:18

1 Answer 1

My recommendations:

  • delete content on current homepage and replace with a 301 redirect to the most important site,, or a script that detects the browser language in use.
  • remove geotargeting in Google Webmaster Tools, as really your site is multi-lingual rather than geotargetted.
  • remove canonical reference from to
  • invest in copywriting for the EN site. I don't speak German or Italian, but Google Translate shows the copy to be very different and more search-friendly on those sites than the English version.

Good luck!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.