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We have a multilingual site where some pages have not been translated yet. However, our CMS already serves them under their language-specific URL, for example:

  • https://example.com/email-inbox/

and

  • https://example.com/fr/email-inbox/

The page will be translated to French in the future, but until then, we have duplicate (english) content on these two URLs.

It is not easily feasible to eliminate these URLs due to limitations in the CMS. Also, we do not want to translate all content at once, yet.

We already have hreflang tags on all pages pointing to their corresponding versions in other languages.

Will the duplicate content on these pages be a problem from an SEO point of view? If so, what would be the best remedy?

I had two ideas so far:

  • Place a canonical tag on untranslated pages pointing to the english version
  • Add a noindex meta tag to the untranslated pages
1

Yes, the duplicate content could be an issue for SEO.

Both of the proposed solutions might work, though in this case my preference would be to put a noindex tag on the page. After all, you currently don't want these pages to be in the index, as they are not offering the information that you want them to.

While the canonical provides a hint to Google to use the other page, Google might decide (for whatever reason) to ignore this canonical tag and still keep both pages in the index. They can't/won't ignore the noindex, therefore it seems like the better solution.

Short answer: noindex the pages until the translated versions are done.

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