I've noticed that many websites use different URLs for different languages, e.g. de.wikipedia.org.

I thought that was the entire purpose of existance for the Accept-Language HTTP header. It would be easiest for me to just use that header, but I was wondering how that would be indexed.

For different URLs, there is hreflang. But could I point out, "Hey request this page with a different Accept-Language header and get translated content"?


Google and Bing ignore language headers, and even encoding meta tags. They instead look at the content of page to determine language.

What you need are rel links with hreflang for each country and region. A good sample is visiting etsy.com and doing a view source. You can see they target by country, and sometimes multiple languages per country.

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    FWIW we currently also only index one language version per URL, so if you serve different language content on the same URL, Google would only index one of those versions (whichever is served by default, probably). Use separate URLs per langauge & region! support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en has more on how hreflang works. – John Mueller Aug 12 '14 at 21:53
  • John you are 100% correct. site.com/en-us/ should have hreflang of en-us and site.com/ru/ should have hreflang of ru-ru. Meaning the URLS should be different for google to index them as separate pages. Again etsy is a great example if you view their source except they include the canonical which is not required. – Frank Aug 12 '14 at 22:53

Yes you can totally do that !

Number 1: Using locale parameter for your site to serve different accepted language pages based on where's the visitor is from. You can do this serving the parameters in your .htaccess file. Basically your sites will start with language preferences serving them differently

for example: example.com for a spanish site would be served as es.example.com You can read more about locale here. Off course after this you have to use hreflang and Canonization for the locale served contents.

Number 2: In case you don't have access to .htaccess file then you make the content in various other languages for the same content on your site and mark them with proper language tag like this:

In English site <p lang=”en” >Hello My Name is Nell</p> 
In Spanish site <p lang=”es”>Hola mi nombre es Nell</p>

which will be automatically crawled as different languages, and you can link these pages to each other so a Spanish visitor can prefer to have Spanish translated content when visiting the English version of it.

You can read more about it here, here and here.

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