“How to Start a Multilingual Site” (Google Webmaster Central Blog) :The Cross-cultural Connector
Have you ever thought of creating one or several sites in different languages? Let’s say you want to start a travel site about backpacking in Europe, and you want to offer your content to English, German, and Spanish speakers. You’ll want to keep in mind factors like site structure, geographic as well as language targeting, and content organization.
The first thing you’ll want to consider is if it makes sense for you to buy country-specific top-level domains (TLD) for all the countries you plan to serve. So your domains might be ilovebackpacking.co.uk, ichlieberucksackreisen.de, and irdemochilero.es.es. This option is beneficial if you want to target the countries that each TLD is associated with, a method known as geo targeting. Note that this is different from language targeting, which we will get into a little more later. Let’s say your German content is specifically for users from Germany and not as relevant for German-speaking users in Austria or Switzerland. In this case, you’d want to register a domain on the .de TLD. German users will identify your site as a local one they are more likely to trust. On the other hand, it can be pretty expensive to buy domains on the country-specific TLDs, and it’s more of a pain to update and maintain multiple domains. So if your time and resources are limited, consider buying one non-country-specific domain, which hosts all the different versions of your website. In this case, we recommend either of these two options:
- Put the content of every language in a different subdomain. For our example, you would have en.example.com, de.example.com, and es.example.com.
- Put the content of every language in a different subdirectory. This is easier to handle when updating and maintaining your site. For our example, you would have example.com/en/, example.com/de/, and example.com/es/.
To be read carefully, and digested! You can also lean a lot from the Comments following the post on “Google Webmaster Central Blog”). Also remember to come back here and comment
Amadou M. Sall