SEO: should the URL of a web page be written in the same language as the content of the page?
For a website that is intended for use by different language groups, webmasters often use a web address that points to the content in the original language. Is this wrong?
Colleagues from SERoundtable have drawn our attention on a small, yet important point for SEO and multilingual websites. Webmasters who manage sites with an international public and versions in different languages: keep your ears wide open!
The content of a site is often available in multiple languages - French, English, Spanish, Dutch... And for the sake of convenience, the structure of the website is often repeated from one language to another. The URLs that point to the pages keep the same title. As a result, the content is written in one language, and the URL is in another language.
In other words: the managers of the site do think about translating the content of the website in different languages, but they do not change the title – they only provide a link that points to a subdirectory for the language.
In more concrete terms, an article that deals with “Google best practices for URLs” will be titled “Beste praktijken voor URL's” in the Dutch version, but the URL will always be www.mywebsite.be/nl/google_best_practices_for.urls.htm.
This may have a negative influence on the website’s SEO, due to the discrepancy between the different languages used for the URL and the content. This has also been confirmed in a recent Hangout, which was intended for people who speak Hindi and English. Please start watching the video at 0:47:23 for the fragment in question.
A small nuance that might, however, have significant consequences!