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/...
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 ...
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 ...
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:
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 ...
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:
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. ...
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 ...
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-...
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 ...
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)
In short, no. The "Supported language/region codes" section of Google's hreflang guidelines is fairly unambiguous:
The value of the hreflang attribute identifies the language (in ISO 639-1 format) and optionally the region (in ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format) of an alternate URL.
The use of the word "region" there is perhaps confusing. ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 codes ...
From an SEO perspective, it doesn't matter. However, in the general case, using query-based language configuration complicates server code all over the place. It makes handling forms slightly more complicated, can complicate template processing, removes the possibility of static language-based files (e.g. imagine a banner image in each language, you can't ...
Search engines love multiple-languages and are super flexible
Google and Bing are very flexible when it comes to structuring a website with multiple languages. The first thing you should know about these types of sites is that you can either target a language or a language + country.
Country Based Content
Targetting a country is more ideal for sites that ...
Google determines language by running your page through a machine learning algo, they don't use tags:
Google uses the visible content of your page to determine its language. We don’t use any code-level language information such as lang attributes, or the URL. You can help Google determine the language correctly by using a single language for content and ...
A .gr domain will only ever rank on Google for searchers from Greece. There is no way to target a .gr domain to worldwide users of Google. See I'm using a vanity country code top level domain (ccTLD), can I persuade Google to geotarget a different region?. It doesn't make sense to put your English content on a .gr domain name unless it is focused just for ...
Your indexing is going to be spotty. Google may index some of both sites. It will index mostly your international site because Google does most of its crawling from the US.
Auto-redirection based on geo-IP address or the Accept-Language header hurts SEO. If you want good SEO, you can't use redirects. Google crawls from all over the world. It expects to ...
The latest adoption into this direction like Single Page Application (SPA) for SAAS based products -
Using different websites for different countries will be lose link juice that would otherwise go towards our main branding domain. Eg: - https://www.example.in/, https://www.example.fr/ etc.
(Amazon, the big e-commerce giant made this mistake in his past.)
Google does not allow you to target a site with a country specific TLD to another country. Matt Cutts recently posted a video about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0sCnzzVtNs
As such, you will have a hard time ranking in Germany with a .ru domain name.
Furthermore, brands are a much more powerful signal about the quality of a site than keywords ...