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Structuring your website is very important for international SEO when you have different languages and localizations of your content, and there are some technical things you can do to your pages to help search engines find and understand the different internationalized sections of your website. First, determining where to place your translated content is an important step. Some organizations structure their multilingual websites by placing different translations in different subdomains. For example, you might place your Spanish version of the site on es.yourdomain.com.
Other websites will place the content in different subfolders like yourdomain.com/es. Both methods are effective in establishing a different silo of content dedicated to a certain language, and they both have risks and advantages. While using different subdomains allows you freedom in implementation, since it can be considered a completely different website, it also brings the risk of not taking advantage of the overall link value of your main domain. Using subfolders to house your multilingual content eliminates this risk, and it brings the full strength of your domain to bear, but it maybe challenging to implement different site frameworks this way, depending upon how your ecommerce platform is set up.
Next, make sure to explicitly tell search engines what language and region the content is targeted to using a hreflang link tags on your pages. These tags will tell a search engine where each internationalized version of the page lives by specifying each of the URLs, along with the language and country targets. So if you have one version of your page in English and another in French, you can put these two tags on both pages, specifying which URLs house each piece of content. And you can be more specific by adding country targets as well.
If you had one version of the page targeted to French-speaking Canadians for example, you could modify this tag to include both the language and the country code. When it's all said and done, search engines will be able to properly identify what audience each page is targeted to and display the most relevant result in the different geo-targeted search engines. Also be sure to use rel="canonical" tags on each language-specific version of your content pages. This can be especially important when you have similar content targeted to different countries within the same languages.
You can avoid duplication problems by explicitly calling out the unique URLs of each piece of content in each language. As long as you determine a scalable structure to house your different international content, and you apply the appropriate location, language, and canonical tags, search engines will have an easy way to determine which languages and countries each of your content pages are intended to serve. And this will help get the most relevant and appropriate pages of your site in each of the language specific search results.
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