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I am working on a site with hundreds of thousands of pages in multiple languages. Most of the content is user generated, the problem is that this creates a lot of duplicates. For instance, a German user creates content in German, then that content is available across the site as such example.com/de, example.com/fr, example.com/it, etc. as well as example.com/de/en, example.com/fr/en, example.com/it/en, etc.

The content needs to be discoverable across the site but I am thinking that it is probably good to put a no-index or redirect to avoid this. A potential problem if redirecting is that it could hurt the user experience since the UI is localized. For example, an Italian user finds the German content via the internal search engine and clicks the link, then that link leads to domain.com/de/content and now the UI is in German, which doesn't feel right.

With noindex, the pages wouldn't be indexed but I guess Google will still crawl them which can hurt our so call crawl budget?

What is the best here? Or are there other options?

Edit: Hreflang tags and canonical are already implemented. So the question is what can be done beyond that?

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If you place a noindex tag you'll hurt your site. You need to configure hreflang tags on your site so that each language version has its own page.

The way to implement it is by using link tags in the header. For example:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="https://www.example.com/fr/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://www.example.com/de/" />

Search engines will understand that it's the same content in another language, and thus won't hurt your rankings.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Yes, hreflang tags have been implement already, but have the feeling that it is not enough and that there are additional ways to optimize? May 5 at 11:16
  • hreflang is for when the content is translated, but I don't think it is appropriate in this case because the main content on the page remains untranslated, only the template is translated. May 5 at 17:33

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