What Ranking Factors Are Used For International Search?
There are 2 basic ways I have been looking into to make a website multilingual:
1. subdirectory/subdomain alias
e.g. www.example.com/en/path or en.example.com
The server identifies the "en" in the path and returns language-specific content.
This is great because you can share and bookmark language-specific links without dependency on a user's previous selection.
2. cookie-based, or session-based, server-side content swap
The server identifies the presence of a cookie, which is given to the user when they click on the language they want, and shows content. The path is the same for both versions.
This is great because it makes path and menu management easy, and avoids "duplicate content" on your site.
Is either approach an accepted standard?
For Option 1: How do search engines handle the translations? Will they be able to index the translated content if it's only served when a cookie is detected? What happens if default is english, and I support Spanish, and somebody enters a google search in spanish?
For Option 2: Will you get docked for duplicate content using Option 2?