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I have a business listing site. The content of these businesses is ALL in German (title, description, etc), so nothing is translated to other languages. This last fact makes my question slightly different than what I've seen in sources I've read, see references at bottom.

Now, I want to allow people in non-German search the site too. I've translated the faceted search, buttons etc. to English, so international users can still search businesses by category in English, e.g. "all barbershops". I'm detecting a different language by adding a string to the URL, e.g. "/en" for English. I want to avoid duplicate content penalties, and I read that canonical tags are no longer needed, so I've now come up with the approach below, is this the recommended approach?

General search pages

URL: https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/
metadata:

  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://www.mysite.de/businesses/berlin/"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/"/>

URL: https://www.mysite.de/businesses/berlin/
metadata:

  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://www.mysite.de/businesses/berlin/"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/"/>

Business profile pages

(also notice German business name in URL)

URL: https://www.mysite.de/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft
metadata:

  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://www.mysite.de/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>   

URL: https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft
metadata:

  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://www.mysite.de/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft"/>   

Is the above the recommended approach?

Sources used:

  1. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077
  2. Multi language site - use of canonical link and link rel="alternate"
  3. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2011/12/new-markup-for-multilingual-content.html
  4. Use of rel="alternate" on multilingual site

UPDATE 1

Veryh helpful comment and an answer, thanks.

So I was wondering, would it not be better to have URLs in the local language too for business search pages and business profile pages? So I want to append the category to the title of the vendors, also all other attributes would be translated (opening hours, square meters/footage, kms/miles).

I would then have:

Businesses search URL GERMAN:
https://www.mysite.de/unternehmen/berlin/
company titles like:
friseurgeschaft: mein-friseurgeschaft
company details
100 m2 / 8 km

Businesses search URL ENGLISH:
https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/berlin/
company titles like:
barbershop: mein-friseurgeschaft
company details
1000 ft2 / 5 mi

And then, since I'm able/allowed to translate some content for the business detail pages, for the ones where I do have an English translation I redirect to:

Business profile page URL ENGLISH
https://www.mysite.de/en/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft
company details
1000 ft2 / 5 mi

For the ones without an English translation I redirect to back to German content (indicating visitor language through URL parameter or via cookie setting?) but with English chrome so English visitors can still see the business and have distance/price/opening hours etc in their language:

https://www.mysite.de/businesses/3232/mein-friseurgeschaft?sourcelang=en
company details
1000 ft2 / 5 mi

Would this be a (Google accepted) solution?

  • 3
    You should be translating some of the content. You shouldn't translate the business name, but the description should get translated. So should things like directions, hours, products sold. Google isn't going to be happy with pages where only the template has been translated. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 24 at 13:05
  • @StephenOstermiller thank you, would you mind having a look at my update 1? – Joe Apr 26 at 12:00
2

The content of these businesses is ALL in German

I've translated the faceted search, buttons etc. to English, so international users can still search businesses by category in English

In my opinion this behavior ends up with high leaving rates, maybe even much more, if you wouldn't translate the chrome. If user comes on a page and realizes chrome in his language, he awaits tthe content in his language too. In other case he angered leaves the page.

Google will be angered too. Because you'll try to suggest with translated chrome and hreflang, there would be content in english, but the time on page will say the opposite. So you can loose much of relevancy.

If you suggest there should be content in english - it should be there indeed. Content and chrome are quite different things.

Yes translation is a lot of work, but you better don't suggest you would have something - it fires back. Note, until you have translated content, yoe don't really have a multilanguage site - ergo don't try to apply rules for it.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you, this helps. Would you mind having a look at my update 1? – Joe Apr 26 at 12:00
  • why not? throw a link – Evgeniy Apr 26 at 13:37
  • I meant the update 1 as described in my post :) – Joe Apr 26 at 17:28
  • @evgenly? friendly bump :) – Joe Apr 30 at 7:31

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