PDF Documents May Impact How Google Defines Your Site's Language

Jun 13, 2008 - 8:43 am 1 by

A Google Groups thread shares an interesting insight in how Google may interpret a site's language.

A webmaster asked Google why a site with no pages in Spanish is being interpreted as a Spanish site in Google. The site in question is vsanswers.com, and if you look through all the HTML pages, none of them have any Spanish words. But if you look at some of the PDF files on the site, you will discover Spanish in those documents.

Googler, JohnMu, explained:

Looking at some of the pages indexed for your site, it appears that you have some PDFs in multiple languages.

I assume that some of the Spanish keywords can be found on pages like those. In general, PDFs like that can be a bit problematic as it's nearly impossible to determine the language they're in, which could result in the document ranking for an interesting mixture of keywords. If that's ok with you, then you can certainly leave it -- otherwise you could use your robots.txt file to prevent crawling of these files, making them drop out of the index over time.

It appears to me that the webmaster has removed the PDFs from the Google index and that Google may soon resolve the site's issue.

I do find it interesting that while the whole site is in English, that a few PDF documents with some Spanish in them would cause such an issue? To be honest, JohnMu's response is a little confusing to me. So maybe I am missing something and maybe people can clarify in the comments. John said, "PDFs like that can be a bit problematic as it's nearly impossible to determine the language they're in," if that is the case, how can Google qualify the site as being Spanish, if they have a hard time determining the language in the PDF? Or maybe John means that Google misunderstood the PDFs as being in Spanish, which caused the issue? But if that is the case, i.e. Google has a hard time determining the language in the PDF, then why would Google use PDFs in the case of determining the language of the site - why not just use the HTML pages?

Forum discussion at Google Groups.

 

Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community

Follow

Search Video Recaps

 
Google Core Update Coming, Ranking Volatility, Bye Search Notes, AI Overviews, Ads & More - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 24, 2024

Jul 24, 2024 - 10:00 am
Google Updates

Google Search Ranking Algorithm Volatility - July 23rd

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

SEO Poll: 54% Of SEOs Saw Positive Effects From Google Updates

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Ads

New Google Local Service Ads Budget Options

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google News

Google Ad Revenue Up 11% - $64.62 Billion In Ad Revenue

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:21 am
Google

Google Outlines Videos In Search Results

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:11 am
Previous Story: What Is Google's Trust Algorithm in Search?