There are many acceptable ways to structure your site for both SEO and internationalization. Each have advantages and disadvantages.
Top Level Domains
Buy the same domain name at multiple top level country domains like example.com, example.es and example.de.
Fully supported by Google. You can add the sites to Google Webmaster Tools where ...
This happens when a page includes a hreflang link to an alternate language, but the linked page doesn't link back to it. This Official Google Webmaster Central Blog post explains that:
Annotations must be confirmed from the pages they are pointing to. If page A links to page B, page B must link back to page A, otherwise the annotations may not be ...
If you canonicalise appropriately, it is fine. Use rel="canonical" to specify that the pages are identical, and hreflang for the alternate languages.
<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.org/es/ads/2">
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://example.org/en/ads/2">
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://example.org/...
Google has written a fair amount on the recommended way to present multilingual content: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/new-markup-for-multilingual-content.html
They also have a fair amount of detail in terms of implementation on this subject:
After reading Christofian's answer, I did some research and found out that the five Regional Internet Registry members (APNIC, AFRINIC, ARIN, RIPE, and LACNIC) each maintain a copy of the allocated IP address ranges and the associated countries on their public FTP servers. This information is updated daily and mirrored between the five servers.
For example, ...
Splash screens are acceptable according to Google. They do offer some best practices however, when using multi-language/multi-regional sites.
In this article, Google recommends the use of the hreflang tag within <link rel="alternate" ... /> tag in the head. The specific excerpt from the article is below:
For language/country selectors or auto-...
The W3C provides this very long guide on choosing language tags/subtags.
The important bits:
Language tag syntax is defined by the IETF's BCP 47. In the past it
was necessary to consult lists of codes in various ISO standards to
find the right subtags, but now you only need to look in the IANA
Language Subtag Registry. We will describe the new ...
Here's Google's own tips for multilingual sites. In summary:
Make sure the page language is obvious by sticking to one language per page.
Tell Google if your site is targeting a ...
Whereas the answer by Andrew makes sense and is in line with the official response by Google, I see 3 types of errors in my website:
A URL containing an URL-encoded URL is linked back using the properly encoded URL. E.g. http://example.com%3Flang%3Dzh is linked back as http://example.com?lang=zh - there is not much I can do if someone is linking my site ...
They should be identical as far as SEO is concerned, because Google doesn't look in the URL to determine language - to determine language they actually use machine learning on the text content itself.
The important part for SEO is to just make Google aware of the different language versions of each page by using meta tags like so:
The canonical tag tells spiders and other automated thingies that all URLs that return pages with the same tag are all effectively returning the exact same page. I don't think you want to tell robots that your UK and US pages are identical unless they really are. Do they show different currency? Do they maybe even spell words differently?
I have localized sites in English for US/UK/AU/IN, in Spanish for ES/MX and in Portuguese for PT/BR. I would recommend splitting out the localized sites into separate top-level or sub-domains.
You won't get hit with any duplicate content penalties. Google understands when content is localized like this and allows the same content on multiple sites.
As Stephen said, it is mostly likely an attempt at defining locale. In some of the web-based software that I've worked with, I've come across form values and URLs like:
<input type="hidden" name="lc" value="US">
The meta tag for "lc" is undocumented, which means that it is either a mistake or some sort of custom tag ...
Within another context I have given these examples of how to use hreflang and canonical links. For your purpose I added structural data in the head section of both examples with meta tags indicating an organization name, brand and department:
Example of an English webpage
We checked today on November 29th and the title in the SERP no longer has the - Foobar USA appended to the end. It is now just Foobar Korea (not Foobar Korea - Foobar USA).
Here is what we did
October 27th (Day 0) - Added the following structured data:
Wherever feasible, ccTLDs should be first preference. Google recognise them and try to target a site accordingly.
User preference should be considered too, as users in some countries exhibit strong preferences for sites on their own ccTLD. For example, a "survey conducted by AFNIC in June 2010 showed a marked preference among French people for .fr domain ...
The short answer is "it depends", mostly on what you're going to do with it.
Looking at the spec for RFC3987 Internationalized Resource Identifiers, IE is well within it's rights to encode your URLs, especially if you've got a US/UK keyboard assigned where entering an é might not be the simplest of actions for the user...
On top of that, I've seen servers ...
There is a free version of a GeoIP database available from Software77. In their FAQ page they say:
We cannot add or remove IPs from the database. The process we use is automated and the IPs in the database are as as we get them from the various registries around the world. If a registry does not list an IP the only way to get it in our database is for the ...
As it says in the answer to How should I structure my urls for both SEO and localization? You should not use automatic redirects for language purposes based on either the Accept-Language header or on IP address geography.
Geo-ip databases are inaccurate. Up to 10% of visitors may be assigned to the incorrect country.
Some countries (like Canada) use more ...
As Stephen Ostermiller has pointed out the correct way is to the have a landing page and let users navigate the correct areas of the site. However as you cannot do this, Google have given instructions in the past for redirects based on user location.
Here is a video from Matt Cutts on IP detection and redirects.
On Googles page for Redirects and User-...
Using a combination of localised sites (de.example.com or www.example.com/de/), with a global default landing page at www.example.com in conjunction with conditional redirects based on Accept-Language value is a common and perfectly search engine friendly approach, if properly optimised.
Optimise the regional variants by applying lang attribute for those ...
also geotarget the subfolder to the main territory he would wish to target for that langauge?
You can specify the region (as well as the language) in the hreflang attribute. However, whether you should or not is really dependent on your subject matter.
You say that these other languages are simply translations of the English version, so I would guess not. ...
It is not valid.
ea.com is using HTML5, but in HTML5 it is only allowed to use name values that are
defined in the specification, or
registered on the WHATWG wiki page MetaExtensions.
lc is not included.
If they were using older HTML versions (e.g., HTML 4.01), it would be valid to use this value.
I think that what you'll want to do is change the way your system works. If no language is specified in the URL, but you detect the language via the browser settings, then your site should redirect the user to a URL with that language in the path. This is for two reason:
1) Duplicate content. Spiders/Bots will come to test.com/books, test.com/booken, and ...
Edit based on Joao's comment*
The domains in question are cctld, i.e .es, .it, .pt. Geotargeted subfolders on country specific domains don't work well, if the top level domain is generic (i.e. .com) this solution works. Otherwise, from a pure "best for ranking" perspective, keeping cctlds that only serve one country is best, but, like every solution, each ...
We would set up an hreflang="en" or hreflang="x-default" for the primary site, and an hreflang=en-uk just for the UK site
Couple of corrections here.
For the global English content hreflang="en" would be correct, not hreflang="x-default". The latter is reserved for language selectors and conditionally redirecting pages, per Google's hreflang ...
If the specified font doesn’t contain a glyph for a character, browsers typically use a fallback font to render this character.
(Browsers don’t have do this, of course, and how it exactly works might also depend on the operating system. But it would be really suprising if there were browsers that don’t use fallback fonts. Not to mention that there are many ...
I think the proper heading looks something like this:
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.co.uk" hreflang="en-gb" />
(same link as provided by emirodgar)