In a hangout, one SEO professional asked John Mueller about using mixed languages on one page.
For example, their international school in Japan caters to Japanese and non-Japanese families. However, they keep most of the information on their homepage in English.
Then, they add support on the page in Japanese as well.
When they had the pages separate, it made the community’s parents feel separate. Since communication in real life is mixed language, they thought that having the homepage reflect this felt more natural.
Their question was: are they punished in search if a page is intentionally in a mixed language?
John explained that he wouldn’t necessarily say that a page is punished in a case like this. But, they do try to understand what the primary languages of a page are.
And this helps Google to understand which kinds of queries they should be able to show this page for.
John believes that doing this is kind of tricky in a case like this. Google can understand when there are multiple languages on pages too, it just makes it a lot easier for them to really be clear that if someone is searching in English, this is the right page to show.
John could imagine for something like a homepage, perhaps it makes sense to have that language mixed. Or a slight mix.
If you have one homepage that is primarily in English, then perhaps they could include some elements in Japanese. If they have another version that’s primarily Japanese, including some elements in English is fine too.
But, it helps Google to really understand that, for the most part, this is an English page. And if someone is searching in English for a specific kind of international school in Japan, then it makes sense for Google to say “Well, here’s an English piece of content that they know fits their needs. And this matches the queries that you gave us.”
From that perspective, John wouldn’t necessarily say that the page is punished, but it makes it a lot harder for Google’s systems to figure out how to rank that page properly.
One of the things that you can think about here, though, is looking in Search Console about what queries are going to your website or for your homepage.
And then, you can think about which of these queries may be affected if Google didn’t understand the language properly. And it could very well be that if most people are searching for your name, or your brand, or your school, then perhaps this would not be affected at all.
On the other hand, if most people are searching for broader queries, more generic queries, then John imagines that this would be a bit harder to appear in search just because they are not sure if the homepage is actually in that language of that query.
This happens at approximately the 30:33 mark in the video.