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I have a global brand that needs localization. I have a single .com domain name, with different language versions in separate directories.

Example:

  • domain.com/en/
  • domain.com/fr/
  • domain.com/ar/

We're using ahreflang tags to make sure Google shows the correct language version for each region.

As the domain is a .com with an English company name, when it comes to the Arabic version of the website, will having a completely mixed language URL like this be detrimental to the site's SEO performance?

What we intend to do is: Use domain.com/ar/blog/عنوان بلوق عربية طويلة حقا على شيء مثير جدا للاهتمام for the arabic blog and if there's an english or french version of that page, to implement hrelang on those and point them to domain.com/blog/English-blog-title-really-long-on-something-very-interesting

Is this the optimal approach for SEO?

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Yes, translating URL slugs is an accepted practice. By translating the slugs you will make it easier for Google to understand what language the page is targeting. Similarly, visitors will also find it easier to understand the page.

While Google says it is "fine to use localized words in the URL", they do recommend UTF-8 encoding the URL and properly escaping the URLs. I've run into issues using accent marks in certain languages and having to remove those from the URL. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/managing-multi-regional-sites#use-language-specific-urls

Ideally, you could translate the /blog/ directory as well vs. leaving that untranslated with a translated slug. So, having a /مقالات/ directory for AR content might help clarify even further what language those pages are targeting. You might find full translation of directory + slug is better for users.

As for SEO, I've seen sites continue to perform just fine in rankings when leaving the sub-directory in English and only translating the slug. Even sites who don't translate their URLs can rank okay. Realistically, so long as you are doing your best to create clean and understandable URLs and explain those accurately via hreflang tags, Google will likely be able to pick up and understand what you are doing.

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