Google: “Don’t Mix Languages on the Same Page”

[fr] Dommage, un article sur comment démarrer son site multilingue sur un des blogs officiels de Google donne des conseils que je trouve assez malheureux (genre: "ne mélangez pas plusieurs langues sur une même page").

I wanted to leave this as a comment on How to Start a Multilingual Site over on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, but unfortunately Blogger is taking a break right now and I can’t post. So, here we go:

“Avoid mixing languages on each page, as this may confuse Googlebot as well as your users.” (Nico, thanks, I’d missed that one)

I’m really disappointed to see this kind of advice handed out. Yes, it confuses Googlebot, but only because it doesn’t (I guess?) take into account lang=”xx” attributes. (Yeah, nobody uses them, but that’s because nobody parses them.)

But users? Most people are not pure monolinguals. We need ways to make linguistic barriers online weaker, and not stronger.

I’ve been mixing languages on Climb to the Stars for eight years now, and it hasn’t prevented my readers or my Page Rank from being happy.

I vote for Google learning that the “page” is not the smallest item on the web that is allowed to have its own language attribute, rather than asking people to conform to some kind of artificial absolute monolingualism.

I’ll try an post tomorrow, but at least this is out there. I left a previous comment on the same post earlier today, by the way. (Check out my other multilingual stuff while you’re on the topic.)

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5 Responses to Google: “Don’t Mix Languages on the Same Page”

  1. Yongho Kim says:

    That’s right!!

  2. swissjourno says:

    Here’s a new blog that’s perhaps a bit ambitious, but is trying to push the envelope on multilingual posting: http://5ch.swissinfo.ch/?lang=eng. It will be interesting to see how people react to six different languages in the main post area.

  3. Eladio says:

    I know this is from 2008, but im trying for days to get an answer.

    Im trying to rank for the word “Designer”, in my website http://www.webdesignerbarcelona.com, that is in an spanish territory. That word is used there an in many other non-english places.

    Can i actually rank for it? Or google will thinks that is a trick or something because the word is a diferent languaje?

    Thanks

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