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I have organised my site by language using the following structure:

www.domain.com    #spanish language version homepage
www.domain.com/en #english language version homepage

The site is of Spanish subject matter hence Spanish language takes priority at root of domain. Although the site is new at this stage I would hope searching for the domain from google.com and google.es would return English and Spanish versions respectively.

Are there any particular steps I need take to separate the two. Should I add them both as individual sites in Google's webmaster tools and also should I submit individual site maps for each 'site' or as a whole?

Thanks in advance.

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While all of those links discuss the seo merits of localised urls and linking between localisations, none of them broach on how to ensure a site is recognised as having multiple home pages, that aren't necessarily the root of the domain. Nor do they discuss sitemaps. –  mark Jan 6 '11 at 16:13

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Declaring Language in XHTML and HTML

The W3 describes how to formally declare the language of your web pages:

http://www.w3.org/International/tutorials/language-decl/

Add a content-language meta tag to the head block of each page.

<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en">

...or...

<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="es">

Google's View of Multilingual Sites

The following article on Google's Webmaster blog talks about how to deal with multilingual web sites:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/03/working-with-multi-regional-websites.html

A second article on the same site, talks about how your particular site structure is supported and how to tell Google about your site's geo-targetting preferences:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-start-multilingual-site.html

Update: Latest on multi-lingual sitemaps from the Google webmaster central blog.

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Thanks for the answer. I was hoping for something less ambiguous but clearly this is the only information out there. –  mark Jan 16 '11 at 21:42

Yes, they do.

Although each search engine is different, the obvious ones (Google, Bing) do use language recognition algorithms. A clear example is when you visit a foreign site on Google Chrome the browser will recognise the language is not your own and will ask you whether you want to translate it.

Having said that, language and country aer very different things. If you want to geotarget directiories of your site to specific countries (eg: www.domain.com/fr to France) then you will have to set these on Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Or alternatively, buy a ccTLD (such as domain.fr)

Hope that helps.

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Thanks Magico. I'm not concerned with regionalisation. As far as language recognition it may be though that I don't need to do anything, that the search engines will recognise the content's language and recognise the root page. I was hoping for some more solid experiences though, particularly with regard to site maps and google webmaster tools. –  mark Jan 6 '11 at 16:16

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