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We have a global site, all hosted on one .com domain (www.example.com/en www.example.com/es www.example.com/pt www.example.com/ru etc.)

Each language sub directory is identical to one another, apart from being in different languages.Should I translate each meta keyword for each page or just use the english versions?

English page about private jets : keyword "private jet"
French version of exactly the same page : keyword "private jet" or "jet privé"

If anyone knows whether language specific keywords carry any weight in search engines when the actual website is a .com and not a country specific domain, that would be really helpful!

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Meta keywords aren't used by Google any more and probably other big search engines don't use them either in any situation. So the answer depends on what search engines you are referring to :-) – Osvaldo Jul 5 '12 at 9:08
Whilst SEO is a heavy focus we are also looking for increased usability too... the search engines we are primarily targeting are Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex and AOL. – Daveth3Cat Jul 5 '12 at 9:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

All data on a page should be in the same language to make language detection easier for search engines. On a page with <html lang="fr"> English keywords could actually be harmful because (at least) Google doesn’t use just the lang attribute to determine the real language.

In practice … I wouldn’t waste time with keywords. I don’t know any relevant search engine that is still using those.

See this blog post Working with multilingual websites:

You can help to make language recognition easier if you stick to only one language per page and avoid side-by-side translations. Although Google can recognize a page as being in more than one language, we recommend using the same language for all elements of a page: headers, sidebars, menus, etc.

Keep in mind that Google ignores all code-level language information, from “lang” attributes to Document Type Definitions (DTD). Some web editing programs create these attributes automatically, and therefore they aren’t very reliable when trying to determine the language of a webpage.

(emphasis mine)

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