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Google: Best to have a primary language one a page and not mix languages

John Mueller, from the Google Search Relations team, explained that it is best to have one primary language per webpage, so Google can best recognize what the language is for that page. John Mueller said this in a video this morning on the topic of multilingual content.

One language per page. John was asked, “if it’s okay to have two language versions on the same page?” John responded, “for search it’s ideal when our systems can recognize the primary language of a page.”

The reason is that having one language per page “makes it much easier to recommend the page to users who are searching in that language,” John added.

What if you have more languages? “Having some content in other languages is fine though,” John did add. He said sometimes you have to use more than one primary language on a page, for example a website that teaches languages does this.

John Mueller explained “In the case of a website that’s teaching another language my recommendation would be to clearly have one primary language for each page. You can create pages for other languages on the same website too.”

No meta tags. “There’s no meta tag that you need to use to tell search engines your language choice,” John Muller explained. But he did add that using the HTML language attribute is recommended for screen readers, so you might want to use that.

The video. Here is the video:

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More. There is more help documentation from Google on this topic over here.

Why we care. If you have a site that mixes languages, you probably want to consider this advice and restructure some or all of that content. This is not necessarily new information, Google has been saying this for over a decade. But it is always nice to have this reminder and to have it documented in a short video like this from Google representative.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.