[thelist] Multi-language site structure

Meshack meshack at hrts.org
Tue Dec 22 14:26:10 CST 2009

Thanks Kim, you touched on the other thing I was wondering... should I
separate the two languages into distinct URLs, or keep them in the single
.com they had purchased. They were planning to market in Spain, but it's
tentative and murky, they don't know what they are doing as far as marketing
abroad yet. They just know they want to. So to keep things simple for now, I
built the single site. If it appears they need to in the future, we can
develop a separate site. But I worry about the user experience. If someone
finds the site on a Spanish domain, they click on English, and then are
directed to a .com, assuming they notice the changed URL, will they get
suspicious and as a result be less likely to purchase?

Also, I am not an expert on the voodoo science of SEO, but if Google finds
essentially identical content linking to each other... will it assume that
there is some backlink cheating going on and penalize them both?


-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org
[mailto:thelist-bounces at lists.evolt.org] On Behalf Of Kimberley Rivero
Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 11:38 AM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: Re: [thelist] Multi-language site structure

If I am keeping all languages under the same domain then I build
multilingual sites by separating the content for each language into
separate directories.  I use the two letter abbreviation for each
language as my directory name, like this /en/ (English), /es/
(Español), etc.  Keeping it short like this makes it easy on the
developer to keep track of content, but doesn't make URLs stupidly
long (leaving you room for nice SEO-friendly and user-friendly URLs).

The two-letter language abbreviations are here:

If it's critical that each language do well in search engines in
distinctly different locations then it's smart to consider using
separate domains for each language.  For example a site in Spanish
with a .com.mx domain may have better shot at ranking well on Google
Mexico than a .com would.  But I wouldn't put an English language site
aimed at  US market on a .com.mx domain.  Something to consider for
sites in highly competitive and/or localized markets (like tourism).

For proper search engine indexing be sure to set the language for each
page in the head section.

Also be sure to include buttons to switch from one language to another
and make sure those buttons are IN the target language.  So the
English button should say "English" and the Spanish button should say
"Español."  This way your users only have to find their own language
name IN their language and you not are requiring them to know what
their language is called in another language (that was confusing to

None of the multilingual sites I've built have 1 to 1 content, not
even if the the client was 100% positive they would.  So make those
language switch buttons go to the home page of the target language.
The markup is simpler this way and it's more intuitive for users too.

If you are needing a multilingual CMS there's a nifty WordPress plugin
that does a nice job with multilingual sites, it's called WPML.  Info
here: http://wpml.org/  I've used it successfully for a number of
sites and clients seem to be able to understand how to use it without
much training.

Hope this helps, Kim

* * Please support the community that supports you.  * *

For unsubscribe and other options, including the Tip Harvester
and archives of thelist go to: http://lists.evolt.org
Workers of the Web, evolt ! 
No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com 
Version: 8.5.430 / Virus Database: 270.14.116/2579 - Release Date: 12/22/09

More information about the thelist mailing list