Google Says The Quality Of Your Languages On Your Multilingual Site Can Impact Each Other

Google’s John Mueller confirmed on the December 31st SEO hangout that if you have multiple versions of your site (on the same domain name), and one version is deemed high quality by Google and the other version is deemed low quality by Google – the low quality version can negatively impact the high quality version. And yes, we should all know by now that quality is at the site level and significant portions of your site can impact other portions of that same site.

This came up at the 6:52 mark where an SEO asked “do you consider the language quality of each language version on the same domain independently or can there be some sort of negative or bad neighborhood effect so that if one language version is of poor quality, all the other language versions on the same domain suffer as well?”

John Mueller said the short answer is yes, and it is not necessarily about the site having different languages but about the site overall having sections that are low quality. John said “the main issue here is less about these being translated versions of the content but more that for some things we look at the quality of the site overall. And when we look at the quality of the site overall if you have significant portions that are lower quality, it doesn’t matter so much for us like why they would be lower quality if they’re just bad translations or if they’re terrible content or whatever. But if we see that they’re significant parts that are lower quality then we might think overall this website is not so fantastic as we thought. And that can have effects in different places across the website.”

John added “so in short, I guess if you have a very low quality translation that’s also indexed and that’s also very visible in search then that can definitely pull down the good quality translation as well or the good quality original content that you also have.”

Here is where he said this, the back and forth goes on for a lot more, so it is worth watching:

Here is how Glenn Gabe summed it up from his perspective:

Here is the transcript:

QUESTION:

I wonder if a poor translation of a new language version can negatively affect the SEO for domains more established main language versions. So let’s go with an example, let’s assume that i have an established website in French that exists for a number of years and has reasonable SEO success. And then I want to add German language version on the same domain, so not the distinct domain but the same domain and the website owner uses automated translation unfortunately for the G user interface and the German content.

So I know that automated translation is considered as automated automated generated content and Google doesn’t like it so it would seem normal that Google probably doesn’t appreciate the new German version so much. But my question mainly targets the established French version which has done reasonably well so far.

I wonder if this poor German language version can influence negatively the success of the more established French version? So in other words do you consider the language quality of each language version on the same domain independently or can there be some sort of negative or bad neighborhood effect so that if one language version is of poor quality, all the other language versions on the same domain suffer as well?

ANSWER:

I guess the short answer is, yes.

The main issue here is less about these being translated versions of the content but more that for some things we look at the quality of the site overall. And when we look at the quality of the site overall if you have significant portions that are lower quality, it doesn’t matter so much for us like why they would be lower quality if they’re just bad translations or if they’re terrible content or whatever. But if we see that they’re significant parts that are lower quality then we might think overall this website is not so fantastic as we thought. And that can have effects in different places across the website.

So in short, I guess if you have a very low quality translation that’s also indexed and that’s also very visible in search then that can definitely pull down the good quality translation as well or the good quality original content that you also have.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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