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I have: www.mywebsite.com which redirects to en.mywebsite.com, es.mywebsite.com, fr.mywebsite.com depending on the user language, so there's not an indexed website in www.mywebsite.com

However, when I put links to my website in other websites, I do not do it directly to the subdomain:

Instead of this:

http://fr.mywebsite.com/article/article123/

I do this:

http://www.mywebsite.com/article/article123/

So the user gets redirected to that article in his language, or english if the user's language is not avaiable:

http://en.mywebsite.com/article/article123/

My question is, how do this affect SEO? Will the subdomains benefit from the backlinks? or just the main domain? (which would be a problem as there's no real content indexed there).

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1 Answer 1

Will the subdomains benefit from the backlinks?

It depends on how you redirect. Use a 301 redirect to forward pagerank. If you use different redirects, the pagerank will either get lost or stuck at the main domain. Since there's no content there either, probably lost.

Even if you did a 301 redirect, you'd have to choose one single subdomain to redirect the crawlers to, in this case probably the English one. So the others will miss out, and there will be some pagerank decay even on the English domain, so I wouldn't recommend it.

Overall, it sounds like a bad strategy.

What you should do is either build local relevant links to all your localized subdomains separately, or alternatively:

  1. set up the www subdomain as the english one instead of using a subdomain for English.
  2. Implement the alternate hreflang tag to list your localized pages.
  3. Redirect local users to the localized page.
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Thanks! Great answer. I will vote you when I get enough karma. I guess I will just use the easiest solution, which is to build links to each subdomain. –  Aleix May 8 '12 at 22:58

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