18 January 2012

Flags Of European Union

2011 was a tremendous year in international search marketing. We saw talkative campaigns, improve structures, and even new industries decant into the worldwide scene.

Then, last August, Google threw in a wrench and rolled out Panda globally, which has truly demonstrated to be quite ambitious when you have a .com with either a sub domain or subdirectory Infrastructure.

Entirely plausibly would have been fine if it wasn’t for companies that had more than one national existence. Problem is, most known brands are international. When we see at brands and businesses based out of the U.S., particularly in the EU, they’re almost all international and most don’t have independent ccTLDs in the markets they target.

Some other problem with polyglot and multi-country targeted websites: many of them share same content or translated similar content with perhaps a few currency signals and title tags differences. The combining of duplicate looking content and a directory/subdirectory structure causes websites be bound in the Panda filter.

Google pulled out a huge roll of channel tape to fix the problem with multiple language version websites, wrote “hreflang” on one strip and wrote “canonical” on the other strip.

Essentially, Google is telling us that we should use a territorial subtag in our head tag on each URL to help Google’s spider figure out what kind of content is on each page and where it is meant. Once this is complete, Google will consider that the content is meant for that region.


The hreflang attribute (hreflang: rel="alternate" hreflang="x") rules in a nutshell:

• Employs to any users from different parts of the universe, with content translated in the native language to target that region.

• Used for polyglot websites using considerably the similar content on all web pages (e.g., English pages for Australia, Canada, and the U.S.)

• Can determine the language, country, and URLs of content translated for multiple countries.

 • Used when:

           o You interpret only the template of your page (navigation and footer) and main content is yet in a single language.
               o Pages have usually same content within a single language, but are targeted at different parts (e.g.,       English-language content targeted in United State American, United Kingdom, and Australia).
              o Content on the web page is amply translated (e.g., have Spanish, French, and English editions of each page).

• How to use rel="alternate" hreflang ="x"

               o If there are multiple language versions of the website, each language must use rel="alternate" hreflang="x".

For more information: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=189077


The polyglot canonical tag (rel="canonical") says Google that x URL is the chose location and the most significant translated version of the content of the URL.

Polyglot canonical is:
  • Used in conjunction with hreflang.
  • Can be used when web pages have the same content in the same language targeting multiple countries.
  • Sometimes users are directed to the wrong language.
  • The canonical designates the version of content that gets indexed and returned to users.
  • Use rel="canonical" tag on other versions of the webpage.
  • When users enter content into search outcomes, users will likely see the URL that corresponds to their language taste.
Laying hreflang and canonical together:

Spanish website is the canonical and includes the following tags:

link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en.example.com/" /

English website includes the following tags:

link rel="canonical" href="http://es.example.com/" /

French site includes the following tags:

link rel="canonical" href="http://es.example.com/" /

So why is this so Challenging?

Since it seems fairly clear that hreflang permits for geo-targeting and rel=canonical permits for de-duplication, why is this so challenging?

“With the canonical, you have to determine the settings on a per URL basis which require substantially more attempt and price than just utilizing Webmaster,” explicates polyglot search professional and blogger Atkins-Kr├╝ger of Webcertain. “nevertheless, the rel=alternate hreflang has an pros that it can be deployed beside ccTLDs or local domains which precludes people thinking they have to use a dot com to target when in fact ccTLDs accomplish better outcomes.”

In the finish, if you are an SEO in charge of international search attempts, you may find yourself very occupy this year either adding tags, cleaning up translations, or converting websites into standard ccTLDs.

If you’d like to add more instances, corrections, thoughts and best exercises around the uses of the new architecture recommendations, please do so in the comments.