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How should I structure my urls for both SEO and localization?

Please be specific, I already plan to change the language based on the Accept Language header, and then any user-specific overrides (in a cookie)


Should I have example.com/es and example.com/cn or just example.com with different content?

Situations to consider:

I link you to an english language version of example.com but you are a native Chinese reader. Should you go to example.com and see Chinese? English? or be redirected to example.com/cn?

Do google and bing (and Baidu) crawl multiple times with different Accept-Language headers? I'd guess not but I'd like references. Even if they did, having separate URIs would probably get you crawled quicker, because you could put each one in your sitemap.

What would I do in either case if I don't have some given content translated? Like a blog post that is english only on the day it is published.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks

  • Yes! Thank you I searched first as I figured it was common, Feel free to close. Also, I wanted to add the 'localization' tag but I couldn't because rep doesn't cross-pollinate across sites
    – issackelly
    Apr 24 '12 at 23:48

You might want to check out this presentation on international SEO.



Yes, use localization / internationalization codes:




ideally you'd want to structure your FURLs as :


This is assuming you are not interested in purchasing .country domains

Note that you should really have a well thought out approach to the management of the content variants - its a hefty task when you expand site structure in this manner. Good luck!


I wouldn't serve different content from the home page just in case, and I wouldn't think they would crawl with different language headers either. It seems standard practice to either create subfolders like you mentioned, or subdomains, for each language.

That also avoids confusion when people like to your page, but people clicking the link see something different than the original person that posted the link. It would allow people to link to whatever language version of the page they want.

  • hrelang is a useful header / meta item - there are also additional Geopositioning tags available Apr 24 '12 at 23:19

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