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I already read all the recommended answers, but they don't give me any help on what I want to ask.

I already read the following: Root index.html file of a multi-language website

but it does not answer my question 100%

So, imagine you got a website that is natively written in Greek. Let's say that the home url is www.mydomain.gr or something

The owners do use Wordpress and Yoast SEO and let's assume they are doing a decent job optimizing every topic, acoording to the plugin.

Fact: The owners do not use any black hat methods to gain traffic or SEO scores and they will not plan to in future.

The website though has got some topics in both Greek and English language and they are planning to add Russian too.

The default language (Greek) topics and products are being set by Wordpress as
www.mydomain.gr/subfolder1/title1

while english respective ones are set as

www.mydomain.gr/en/subfolder1/title2

Here comes the question: Could Google falsely accuse the website for cloaking, because of the multi language content, or is it 100% legit to contain them multi language content in 1 site, separated as wordpress did here (subfolder for english as /en)?

What I really want to know is:

Is this Wordpress default approach harmless? Or does the company have to get different domain names like something.gr, something.en, something.ru? Since it is a small company, that would be not so practical.

I am concerned, because I took a look at a great SEO website. Wikipedia.

Wikipedia follows this kind of urls with es, en, it in front of the main domain name:

https://www.wikipedia.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Portada

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagina_principale

So what do you suggest for a small company to follow? Any answers asking for more info, will be answered, just please be hesitant and patient, because I am about to leave work and it will take some time to answer. I will be driving home and check the thread ASAP.

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    You can't put English content on a .gr top level domain and get any SEO traffic to it. Google only shows .gr domains for people searching from Greece. For international sites, you need to use a top level domain that can be targeted globally. Google doesn't let must country code domains set their targeting to global. See I'm using a vanity country code top level domain (ccTLD), can I persuade Google to geotarget a different region? – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 14 '18 at 12:06
  • This is interesting. I will look into it as long as I get home. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. I am really new in SEO and it seems that even the slightest guidance is priceless! – George Eco Dec 14 '18 at 12:09
  • "You can't put English content on a .gr top level domain and get any SEO traffic to it." "Google doesn't... to global". Read the topic and your comment and I find them really interesting. On Monday, I will have to talk with the business owners. So that means that a .com is essential to start with, if you want to do business in more than one countries and build websites that they will need SEO for the respective country audience. And then build accordingly upon that domain, right? P.S. Adding content on different language, is it considered black hat? I am also concerned on any penalties... – George Eco Dec 14 '18 at 13:37
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    @GeorgeEco Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but the “Google only shows .gr domains for people searching from Greece” is obviously wrong (for example, check “hellenic government”). Also, the “you can't get any SEO traffic” is doubtful at least because you can get some traffic for unique projects (just recall .io, .me or .in domains). It’s true that you can’t set international targeting for ccTLDs, but it is unnecessary, especially if you have a regional business and want to compete with “big guys” (e.g., I know an English site in the RU zone that feels great in its niche). – Victor Dec 14 '18 at 23:27
  • Thanks. It seems I got to check for a lot of things. So this is the time I have to stop asking more, at least for this thread. Thank you all of you for the help. – George Eco Dec 15 '18 at 15:07
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Is this Wordpress default approach harmless?

Absolutely. But the default WP approach is not enough.

does the company have to get different domain names like something.gr, something.en, something.ru?

No, there isn't any obligation. Any approach is ok if it is matching Google's guidelines.

There is nothing unusual in your setup, and nothing, what one could name cloacking. The single thing you must do (must means really MUST) is to tie your pages with hreflangs. How you manage your different languages - into TLDs, subdomains, folders or parameters is absolutely not important. Google must be able to unequivocally understand your site's multilanguage structure. Establish this possibility - that's all.

Beside of hreflangs there are some other signals you can send to Google to make your site's structure more transparent. But: if you correctly use hreflangs, you can do nothing more. But if you don't use hreflangs or use them not correctly, no other measure will help you.

  • I think I am gonna accept this answer. Googling hreflangs sent me to a google page with a related video and material to read. Since it is Friday and I am not on work at the moment, I am call it a day, but It seems there is a lot of study I have to do on this topic, to optimize the site correctly. Meanwhile, a final question before accepting this answer; If we get Wordpress handle alternative languages (setting /en or /ru alternative links) and doing an SEO using Yoast, will that be ok? Or do I have to manually search on every topic for the hreflangs parameters and set them manually? – George Eco Dec 14 '18 at 14:01
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    i don't know, what exactly does Wordpress with hreflang - i suppose it has no out-of-the-box settings for this. Yoast doesn't deal with hreflangs too. So yes, you are forced to set hreflangs manually or use any Wordpress plugin, compatible with Yoast, like wplang.org – Evgeniy Dec 14 '18 at 14:58

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