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I am currently making a bilingual website and I'd like to get nice SEO results of course.

Here's my idea:

The internal links would be composed of the "www" subdomain so that people can share links regardless of their language. Anyway, their language is determined by the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE PHP variable.

So, they would see http:// www.site.com/mydocument/123 in their adress bar and never see any links like "http:// fr.site.com/mydocument/123" or "http://en.site.com/mydocument/123"

The user can always switch the page's language thanks to links in the footer.
The switching language link would be : http:// fr.site.com/mydocument/123 , and clicking on it would change his language session and redirects the user to http:// www.site.com/mydocument/123

In case of a crawling bot:

I read that if the HTTP_USER_LANGUAGE variable was missing then it's a crawling bot.

So, in that case, we set the defaut language as English. Each page, as I mentionned earlier, has a link for another language:
On the page: http:// www.site.com/document/1323, the link http:// fr.site.com/document/1323 can be seen by the bot and be crawled.

  • What do you think about this practise ?
  • Would I get good SEO results for each language ?
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The best practices are often the simplest practices (particularly when there are many different systems involved) - maintaining session data for every visitor and redirecting behind the scenes isn't very simple.

For SEO: Search engines will automatically return results in the language which matches the user's language preferences and search terms, and users will have the same option to switch their language by navigating to a different subdomain without any redirects.

For link sharing: set up your redirect script at www.site.com and provide the language-based redirect links for anyone who wants to use them, but don't force anyone (or any search engine spiders) to use them.

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So , you would recommend : 1) to redirect people to the langage subdomain french guy goes to fr.site.com 2) if I visit a shared "www" link, I get redirected to fr.site.com because I speak french ? –  Younès Oct 25 '11 at 7:15
    
Automatic redirection should be limited to requests against www (and you should include Disallow: / in the robots.txt file for the www subdomain) - all other subdomains should serve localized content as usual with links to other translations. See Wikipedia.org as a model of interlinking. –  danlefree Oct 25 '11 at 8:43
    
I don't really understand. Could you give me an example, I'd really appreciate! –  Younès Oct 25 '11 at 10:03
    
I am not aware of any good examples of the redirect scheme - it would only be effective for users who are sharing your links (search engines would not index the redirected URL's). –  danlefree Oct 25 '11 at 16:17
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