internationalizationWhen you’re creating a website, who exactly is your audience?  That’s an important aspect of your online business when trying to expand to an online territory.  Let’s say that you’ve finally got your site up and running, and all the important SEO issues have been taken care of.  You have great, responsive web design, awesome content, and your site looks great.  But now you want to internationalize your site.  Now what?

Google has published some official advice on their Google Webmaster Central blog on how to handle your home page when your site serves multiple languages and countries.  There ended up being three categories that were devised by Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes in the post.

1. The first method is making sure every user gets the same content.  The key is making sure that the .com users are getting the English version of the page, .fr users get the French version, the .co.il  version is for the Hebrew users, and so on.  Every version of the domain name will give everybody the appropriate version of your homepage based on someone accessing the URL of choice.  If somebody who isn’t an English speaker accidentally lands on the .com version of the homepage, make sure an overlay appears for them saying that there is a version of the homepage specifically for them.

2. Another way to take care of internationalizing  your homepage is to give your users a choice from the get go by sending them to a country selector page on your homepage or a generic URL.  This way, there will be less issues for those of different languages.  It’s nice to be given a choice before hitting the website of choice if we know that the site is a large, multi-country site or business.

3.  Finally, you have the choice to redirect your users to the homepage based off of various location/language detection techniques.  Once your site has determined what the location and language of the user, a server-side 302 redirect can be utilized to send them to the proper site.  If you don’t want to use redirects, you can even dynamically serve the right HTML content as well.

You can find out more by going to the Google Webmaster Central blog and reading up on all the details.

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