Alternative languages redirecting

by Tom Gullen   Last Updated October 02, 2018 10:04 AM

Serving a page in English, EG:

https://www.example.com/en/make-games

Has the following meta tags:

<meta rel="alternate" href="https://www.example.com/fr/make-games" hreflang="fr" />
<meta rel="alternate" href="https://www.example.com/de/make-games" hreflang="de" />
<meta rel="alternate" href="https://www.example.com/zh/make-games" hreflang="zh" />

My issue is:

  • When a new visitor visits the site, if no language tag is set (eg https://www.example.com/make-games it will make a guess as to which version of the site to server and 302 redirect them (eg to https://www.example.com/de/make-games)
  • It will then save a cookie on their computer saying their language is de (saves to their account if logged in etc)
  • Future requests where the cookie exists will automatically redirect to the de version

This concerns me from a crawling point of view, as if the crawler has the cookie set when crawling the site they will never be able to visit the alternative URLs, it will 302 redirect them back to the language they originally viewed.

What's the best way to handle this? One possible solution would be to have the alternative URLs along the lines of:

https://www.example.com/zh/make-games?forceLang=1

Which stops the auto redirect. Is this a reasonable solution?



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