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Just like it is always advisable to translate URL parts in order to internationalize a web site, is there any recommendation (W3C or such) regarding the translation of URL parameters (query strings)?

Example of translating URLs along with its parameters:

English: /store/products/?sort=descending&filter=free-delivery
Spanish: /almacén/productos/?orden=descendiente&filtro=reparto-gratis

I have tried to research about this many times, but so far nobody seems to ever consider the localization of URL parameters.

Note: not all URLs with query parameters must or can be made into a "friendly" URL. Per-spec, URL parameters are meant to pass hints such as how to view certain content, that is why the sort=descending parameter is appropriate.

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  • Interesting question. It could make sense. The only concern I have would be duplicate content issues, however, the pages being two different languages, I do not see this as an issue necessarily. I am interested to see what others say. – closetnoc Mar 24 '15 at 17:01
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    I'm sure your (Spanish) users would appreciate it. And if your users are happy... With the URLs in your example I don't imagine there would be any direct SEO benefit since these URL params are just used for customising the results (sorting / filtering). The canonical URL (indexed by search engines) would not include the query string. – MrWhite Mar 24 '15 at 18:03
  • Depends, @w3d, custom searches can be fetched by search engines too. If a user links to a page with query parameters there is no real way to tell the search engine from the site whether a parameter affects its content or not. If search engines alone considered the URI without parameters as canonical, that would break a huge number of forum sites that employ the ?forum=...&topic=... way. – user50845 Mar 24 '15 at 18:11
  • I meant that in this case (with just sorting/filtering params) that you would probably state that the canonical URL would not contain these URL params. Yes, you control the canonical URL... the <link rel="canonical" ... HTML element (and corresponding HTTP response header) tells search engines the canonical URL for a page (which can include URL params if you wish) and in GWT you can state which URL params affect content and which should be discounted etc. If you don't explicitly state what the canonical URL is then the search engine will give it its best shot. – MrWhite Mar 24 '15 at 20:18
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    Yes, there could certainly be times when indexing of the query string could be required. Sorry, I wasn't trying to imply that the this would never be the case. – MrWhite Mar 24 '15 at 23:18
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If you can, I'd suggest switching to friendly URLs. For example:

http://www.example.com/section/one

instead of:

http://www.example.com/index.php?section=one

However, if you MUST use query strings in the address bar, then stick with alpha-numeric characters and use equals to separate names from values, and the ampersand to separate sets of name-value pairs. the first question mark in the URL is the indicator that the query string begins.

If you need to use fancy characters in the URL, then you need to percent-encode them. For example, to use a space in the URL, you need to add "%20" instead of " " because 20 is hex for 32 which is ascii for space.

Go to this url for more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percent-encoding
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