We are at the beginning of the process to get multilingual versions of a website. We will be using subfolders working off the core domain (eg mydomain.com/fr/), set the geotargeting at Webmaster Tools and set hreflang attribute.

I would really appreciate your help with a couple of questions.

  1. Portuguese: we will have a Portuguese language version of the site. Our intention is to use this to cover users in both Portugal and Brazil. ie, we are not going to do separate folders mydomain.com/pt/ and mydomain.com/br/ Can I use 2 hreflang attributes for this language version to tell Google it covers Brazil and Portugal? What country code to use for this subfolder?

  2. Switzerland: Does anyone have best practice advice how to do this? On one hand, the subfolder should be mydomain.com/ch/ but as Switzerland covers 2 language possibilities (French and German) - what to do?

3 Answers 3


Just create folder for each language..

pt-br - Portuguese (Brazil)
pt    - Portuguese (Portugal)
fr-ch - French (Switzerland) 
de-ch - German (Switzerland)

more language code is here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms533052%28v=vs.85%29.aspx


If you want to do geo-targeting you will have to create two pt sites. Google does not allow multiple countries to be targeted by a single section of your site. This is because things like currency vary between the two. If you are doing e-commerce, you would likely to have different shipping options to Portugal and Brazil, or more likely not be able to ship to one or the other.

If you want to target people speaking Portuguese worldwide, just release a pt website and do not set geo-targeting. This is the way I do internationalization on my site. My French language site is appropriate for both French speakers in France and in Canada. My English site is appropriate for users in US, UK, AU, IN, and CA. I don't set any geo-targeting at all. I use language in my url, not country. The one tricky language when you do that is Chinese. You need two Chinese websites because there are two writing systems that share one language code. You need a Chinese Traditional site for users in Hong-Kong and a Chinese Simplified site for users in mainland China. Both of those use zh as the language code. I use zt for chinese traditional instead, which isn't a standard.

So in Switzerland, you can have them use your /fr and /de sites which are not geo-targeted, or you can create two sites targeting Switzerland in two different languages.


More preferly for SEO do it like pt.mydomain.com/ fr.mydomain.com/ etc..

  • 1
    I've seen country sub-domains, country sub-folders, and country top level domains be good for SEO. Do you have a reason that you prefer subdomains or a reference that supports your assertion? Jun 7, 2014 at 17:29
  • Google does not recommend doing it this way
    – John Conde
    Jun 7, 2014 at 17:44

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