From: Michael Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jul 24 2006 - 18:54:17 CDT
Actually, I have moved from this scheme:
to this scheme:
We simply wanted a clean break between which languages were on which
(sub)domains, we believe the search engines weren't doing a good job of
figuring out which language our site was in (it was in 4 languages, now
7). Only the english domain was really being indexed properly, even
though our non-english pages were correctly identified for language and
encoding. With the same content and far smaller result sets in
non-english languages, I would have expected we would do better in
non-english than english. So anyway, we are now trying one language/one
This whole area is very murky and it is very difficult to find reliable
information on how search engines correlate information including domain
names, a document's self-identified encoding/language, and the IP
address of the server (geolocation) to eventually categorise a site by
country/language and give weight to its content.
Organising local domains (.it etc) involves additional expense and
issues such as requiring the domain registrant to be a local resident etc.
I took my lead on the language/country codes from what Google uses in
its URLs for non-english languages. To my mind, what the subdomains are
called doesn't matter so much. In fact, I would have gone for
descriptive subdomain names like:
except that it would break down with CJK languages in particular. I
don't know where multilingual URLs are at right now, but we aren't in a
position to play on the bleeding edge.
I don't think users remembering the domain name is an issue in our case.
We are more interested in users finding our sites in Google and Baidu
than remembering the domain name. The client sells tours and doesn't get
return business, not because the tours are no good, it's just the
nature of the industry!
Regarding the zh_CN/zh_TW/zh_HK issue, we have to take into account the
fact that the vastly bigger market is zh_CN, so if it is necessary to be
more specific than zh, we'll go for zh_CN.
>>>I am developing a multilingual website. After considering various
>>>options, I've gone with a subdomain for each language
>>Just as a side note, the standard language codes for Japanese and Korean
>>are JA and KO, not JP and KR.
> For subdomain names, he can choose whatever codes he likes and wants
> within his own domain domain name, this has no impact on the applications.
> Note that domains in the TLDs use country codes, not language codes, so for
> consistency (if he also applied for ccTLD domains) he mayt have simplified
> his setting, so that people can connect either to http://www.example.it or
> http://it.example.com/ or even http://www.example.com/it/ indifferently
> (his setting depends on the way the werver maps domain names to actual
> resources, and it may be inconvenient to use different codes for ccTLDs
> and subdomains.)
> The good question is then about which URL his users will remember more
> easily, and which one he wants to advertize and make available in his server
> configuration. If he wants to target Japanese users, they are used to see "jp"
> in domain names, so it seems logical to use "jp.example.com" (or www.example.jp
> if available, or another localized domain name in ".jp"), as many users will
> expect "jp" and not "ja" in URLs. country codes are much more wellknown than
> language codes.
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