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I'm working on a fairly large site, which has multilingual options, but not correctly implemented:

Currently:

  • www.example.com/this-is-a-url-of-a-certain-page
  • www.example.com/this-is-the-same-url-but-in-a-different-language

Looking into doing this instead:

  • www.example.com/en/this-is-a-url-in-a-certain-page
  • www.example.com/fr/this-is-the-same-url-but-in-different-language

I came up with this structure by doing some best practices research on SEOmoz etc. - now my question is, will this have an effect on our rankings and how immediate will the effect be (probably after google has re-crawled the page).

Are there any case studies you know of where a person/company changed the url structure and had good results?

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This is the correct way to structure it however what you are asking is unknown imho. It will benefit the site (particularly multi-lingual searches) as it clarifies it however how immediate the effect will be depends on a lot of factors including the current frequency of crawling for your site. –  joesk Feb 18 '13 at 10:40
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2 Answers

It almost certainly won't give you an immediate boost. To get to the correct structure you will have to implement 301 redirects from each url to its new location. Doing so should be fairly painless, but you may lose a small amount of traffic while Google sorts it all out. You say that your site is large, so it may take several weeks for the full re-crawl to happen.

I have done several "change every url on a large site" type of changes before. When correctly implemented with correct 301 redirects, they go pretty well these days. Just make sure you do you QA and check that the urls are redirecting as you expect.

As far as the upside from this for you, the biggest advantage of separating them out would be for geographic targeting. You can't use webmaster tools to geographically target the pages of an international site if the pages are mixed in with other languages. However, if you French pages are targeted at worldwide French speakers as opposed to French speakers in France, you don't want geo-targeting anyway.

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The correct way to do this in multilingual websites is create a new TLD, a different directory or new subdomain , ordained by SEO performance.

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