After watching a hundreds of threads about multilanguage website I haven't found an answer to my specific problem, so I think its not a common issue and I must have done something terribly wrong ;-)

We have a brand.com website in DE main language and the following subfolders:

  • /de/ = canonical of / + redirect to /
  • /it/
  • /en/

When I crawl google.com for EN keywords or google.it for IT keywords then I get as results the homepage in German language (both title and description) as the top result with no trace of the /it/ or the /en/ homepage.

Is this because /it/ and /en/ both needs a separate link building strategy?

I've already configured Google webmaster tool into the following way:

  • brand.com, no language preference
  • brand.com/de/, de language
  • brand.com/it/, it language
  • brand.com/en/, en language

Perhaps having "/" as DE main page is it wrong and I should use a different approach? i.e. like having "/" to be a 301 to /de/ instead ?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Are you using Content-Language meta tags as well on each of the subsites? May 19 '11 at 11:40
  • @paulmorriss yes, i'm using it, for example: <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en"> <meta http-equiv='content-language' content='en' />
    – Antonio
    May 19 '11 at 19:15
  • @Antonio: what happens when you google 'site:brand.com/it/'or 'site:brand.com/en/'? Are your pages indexed?
    – Ciaran
    May 20 '11 at 4:11
  • @Ciaran yes i've 69.000 pages indexed an /it/ and /en/ are there using site:brand.com/en/ the page show 1st of the list with the right language and description
    – Antonio
    May 20 '11 at 12:17
  • @Ciaran, @paulmorriss it could be that DMOZ listen me as oldbrand.it and i've some 301 redirect wrong? should i try adding robots header with NOODP?
    – Antonio
    May 20 '11 at 12:18

My recommendations:

  • delete content on current homepage brand.com and replace with a 301 redirect to the most important site, brand.com/de/, or a script that detects the browser language in use.
  • remove geotargeting in Google Webmaster Tools, as really your site is multi-lingual rather than geotargetted.
  • remove canonical reference from brand.com/de/ to brand.com/
  • invest in copywriting for the EN site. I don't speak German or Italian, but Google Translate shows the copy to be very different and more search-friendly on those sites than the English version.

Good luck!

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