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Language versions of the site: step-by-step instructions on how to correctly translate the site into Ukrainian

Many of our clients ask similar questions when they apply for a website translation. In order not to repeat ourselves, we have collected for you in this article the information that most often occurs, and which will help you understand how to translate the site correctly and work with language versions. Recently, there are more and more clients who want their site to be translated directly into Ukrainian as well (although not all languages ​​require such an intensive process as Ukrainian). The intensity also lies in the fact that a law on language has come into force in Ukraine.

Law on the Ukrainian language

On July 16, 2019, the Law of Ukraine On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language No. 2704-VIII entered into force. The purpose of the law is to ensure the priority of the Ukrainian language in more than 30 areas of public life in Ukraine: public administration, media, education, science, culture, advertising, services. According to the law, the introduction of the priority of the Ukrainian language in these areas is proceeding smoothly, some norms have been delayed for 6 months, and even 2-10 years.

Regulations of the law on services and information

The law came into force on January 16, 2021 (18 months after its adoption) and obliges all enterprises to provide information in Ukrainian. Those who don’t

will be prosecuted or fined if they ignore warnings about this violation.

What does the law say about commercial and non-commercial sites

The law requires that all sites that operate in Ukraine and provide goods or services to users be available, although in the full version in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian version of the site should be on the main version, without prefixes and slashes (https:site.com/ua,uk,ua). And it should be loaded by default (Article 27 paragraph 6). That is, when searching, an exclusively Ukrainian site was opened.

Creation of new language versions of sites

If it so happened that the Ukrainian site exists only in a foreign language, then by January 16, 2021, it was necessary to create a Ukrainian version and fulfill all the requirements of the law. Creating additional pages (Google crawler considers similar content from other languages) can be both a plus and a minus. This issue must be approached as responsibly and organized as possible, otherwise the loss of traffic is inevitable. However, the new version of the site is also new traffic. How to turn the weaknesses of this process into strengths and get an additional boost?

Multilingual website is a problem for marketers and SEO specialists

Yes. A truly multilingual site can create certain problems with indexing, problems with canonical pages and duplicates. How is it that, as it were, an increase in pages and the entry of new keys should give more traffic. Because search engines understand that your pages in different language versions are almost the same content, but in different languages. Especially this problem can occur when the site uses one language group.

Everyone thinks that translating the site and putting it on the main version of Ukrainian is easy


one has only to do not complicated manipulations with the plugin and determine in it which version to issue the main one. The main common points are:

  • Go to WPML plugin settings (if you have WordPress)
  • In the settings, set “Default language”. And if you had the default before, then another language is added. Next, change the checkbox to Ukrainian. Thus, Ukrainian becomes the default and any other is not.
  • We choose how the language for the user is determined. Add hreflang tags.
  • Choose the order of languages
  • Adding a language switcher to the site
  • Updating the sitemap
  • Submitting the site for re-indexing

Even if you did everything technically correct

From a technical point of view, everything is done correctly, but when it comes to the policy of the Google search engine, problems arise. That is, we have two versions: one static page associated with our domain, and another dynamic, where there is a language selector (selected here via ?lang=X).

But when Google starts indexing the Russian version of our site, at some point it starts to forcefully re-index all pages.

You didn’t redirect or pass the weight of the page, you just put it in the selector. Google understood what was done, and the attitude towards the site will be different now. Now our Russian-language version will be ranked in a new way. It is clear that there are no axioms in SEO. And there is not a big chance that the traffic will not suffer. But practice shows that in most cases this is exactly the case.

The best way to comply with the law “about MOV” and not lose traffic

Many are wondering how to comply with the law on the Ukrainian language and not completely kill the traffic andimage potential of the site. A lot has been said about this on the Internet, but as always, nothing really. Recommend different. From just double redirects between versions to just deleting the “ru” version. Neither one nor the other can be considered a reasonable way because in the first option you transfer the “ru” version to the “RU” subdomain, and the “UK” or “UA” version. But on the main version there was a “ru” version. What will the search engine do? Correctly! The search engine will definitely lower your site and you will lose traffic.

In the case of the second option, and this is the removal of the “ru” version, or the closure from indexing, you will lose Russian-language traffic. Which even today is more than 60%.

Another separate nonsense on the network is the recommendation to leave it as it is and make a redirect. But you need to understand that a redirect is a redirect. We tell the search engine that this page is exactly the same as it was here, but moved over there.

The best way to translate a website into Ukrainian

We do not recommend anything that we have not tested ourselves on our own sites or on client sites. Therefore, regarding language versions, our version can be safely used.

In order to transfer site versions and not lose traffic, you need to:

-buy a new domain (com,org.ua,in.ua ) but under your brand

– make a backup of the site to a new domain

-close a new site from indexing

-move the versions of the site, where the main version will have the Ukrainian version of the site

-open the site for indexing

– make redirects from the old site to the new one

-set the hreflang attributes and the alternate attribute

Thus, you do a one-time redirect. Your website is legal. And search engines understand that you have a multilingual site, and depending on what query the user enters and what position you have on this query, they will show the desired language version to the user.

As for the norm of the law, which says that the Ukrainian version should be loaded by default, this is nonsense of the people who wrote this law. If we substitute the Ukrainian version for a non-Ukrainian query, we can get sanctions for cloaking.

There is nothing difficult in translating the site into the Ukrainian version and complying with the law on the Ukrainian language. Below will be listed sites that have recently moved exactly as we described. The old URLs will be redirected, and you will see for yourself that everything works.

List of sites:




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