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Google ranking unaffected if I change the encoding?

The website I work for is multi language. Some languages like English and French and Spanish use the iso-8859-1 encoding, while the Russian uses windows-1251 . And other languages already use UTF-8

Now, I want to convert all pages which are still encoded in iso-8859-1 and windows-1251 to UTF-8

My issue is: will this in any way affect my ranking on Google? What happens when Google bot scans my pages and see that there has been a change in all pages from, say:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=windows-1251">


<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=utf-8" />

Will this small change affect somehow my positions on Google ?

All other lines of html code remain completely unchanged, that would be the only change

Awaiting for feedback, thanks
1 Solution
Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
I have never managed an international site or a site with multiple languages.   However, out of the many factors that go into making up your rankings, content and (good) back links are going to out weigh many other items.

Per webmaster tools help, UTF-8 is prefered but others seem to be equally ok.
Q: Should I use character encodings or HTML entities for non-ASCII characters?
A: Either using a specific character encoding (like UTF-8, ISO-8859-1, GB 2312, etc.) or using HTML entities is fine. We generally recommend using UTF-8, but you can use other encodings if they are clearly specified.

I would think as long as your content is readable and has not changed significantly, you will be good.
The bots are not going to index the the meta tags.  They may use it for reference, but they index content, not tags and directives.

As long as the content does not change it will pretty much be transparent and you might get the tiniest of ranking juice by switching to UTF-8, Even if the content were to change, that is not a bad thing.  Google likes it when content is updated and kept fresh.

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