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I run a website with two languages (English and Norwegian). There is one website, but two domains (www.example.com and www.example.no), if you visit example.com you get English language and if you visit example.no you get Norwegian language.

This works like it should on the website, but my problem is with the Google search results. If I Google my domain name I get search results only in English, even though my Google settings are set to Norwegian.

I want the Google search to present my site in Norwegian if i'm using a browser with Norwegian settings, and Norwegian Google search. And I want Google to present my site in English if a user has other language preferences than Norwegian.

How can this be accomplished?

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1 Answer 1

Ok, semantics first: You are running TWO websites. Each domain is it's own site.

Since Google's algorithm is complex, there's no single solution, but rather a set of recommendations that can assist - depending on your particular situation:

  • where your site(s) are hosted and what domains they are hosted on (answered)
  • http/meta heading declarations for language (not necessarily followed by Google)
  • browser/IP settings of the searcher

Since you can't control the last one, the best you can hope for is to influence the others. I don't have the specifics of your domains to check, so this will be an "all other things being equal" answer. In fact, the best advice comes from Google themselves in this post: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/03/working-with-multi-regional-websites.html

Geotargeting factors
Google generally uses the following elements to determine the geotargeting of a website (or a part of a website):

  1. Use of a ccTLD is generally a strong signal for users since it explicitly specifies a single country in an unmistakable way.
    or
    Webmaster Tools' manual geotargeting for gTLDs (this can be on a domain, subdomain or subdirectory level); more information on this can be found in our blog post and in the Help Center. With region tags from geotargeting being shown in search results, this method is also very clear to users. Please keep in mind that it generally does not make sense to set a geographic target if the same pages on your site target more than a single country (say, all German-speaking countries) — just write in that language and do not use the geotargeting setting (more on writing in other languages will follow soon!).

  2. Server location (through the IP address of the server) is frequently near your users. However, some websites use distributed content delivery networks (CDNs) or are hosted in a country with better webserver infrastructure, so we try not to rely on the server location alone.

  3. Other signals can give us hints. This could be from local addresses & phone numbers on the pages, use of local language and currency, links from other local sites, and/or the use of Google's Local Business Center (where available).

Note that we do not use locational meta tags (like "geo.position" or "distribution") or HTML attributes for geotargeting. While these may be useful in other regards, we've found that they are generally not reliable enough to use for geotargeting.

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