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Use of rel="alternate" hreflang="x" for country specific domains?
miteshseo




msg:4597927
 7:03 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can we use rel="alternate" hreflang="x" for country specific domains / directories / sub-domain in below mentioned example ?

Scenario 1. Country specific domains:
http://www.example.com/ - In English - Default
http://www.example.fr/
http://www.example.de/

Scenario 2. One Domain with country specific directories:
http://www.example.com/ - In English - Default
http://www.example.com/fr
http://www.example.com/de

Scenario 3. One Domain with country specific sub-domains:
http://www.example.com/ - In English - Default
http://fr.example.com/
http://de.example.com/

My Queries:
A. If we have same content (translation used) then we can use rel="alternate" hreflang="x" in all above 3 scenario and how?
B. If we have different content for all domains then we can use rel="alternate" hreflang="x" in all above 3 scenario and if yes the how?
C. How we can create sitemap in all above mentioned scenario ?
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:54 am (utc) on Jul 31, 2013]
[edit reason] disabled auto-linking for examples w/subdomains [/edit]

 

aakk9999




msg:4597979
 10:59 am on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="some-other-lang-url"is used on PAGE level, not on domain level.

Hence, looking at your examples, the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="some-other-lang-url" would point to the page that serves the same content in the other language. It is normally envisaged that these attributes are added to the language change link you would (probably) have somewhere on the top right of the page.

However, it is important to realise that in that case the language change links on internal pages should go to the same (i.e. equivalent) internal page in the other language and NOT always point to the home page of the other language.

To clarify - in general I am seeing two types of the language changes implemented on the web:

1) Language change links of internal pages point to the equivalent (translated) internal page in the other language(s).
2) Language change links of internal pages always point to the home page of the other language(s).

The first case is much better way to implement language change, not only for Google, but for the visitors too. This is where using rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="some-other-lang-url" makes sense.

The second way of changing language (where language change link from ANY page always points to the home page of the other language) is not ideal. Visitor will not be sent to the same page in other language and upon language change the visitor will need to navigate the site to find the equivalent page, and as far as Google is concerned, rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="some-other-language-url" cannot be (should not be) used on any language change link other than on the home page(s) since the home page in one language is not the equivalent of internal page in the other language.

So in your examples, these are all fine to be used with rel="alternate" hreflang="x" href="some-other-lang-url" as there you have page-to-page equivalents, but this is valid for the home page only - which is what you show in your example. Internal pages will have to have their own alternate definition to point to equivalent internal page. An example for internal page:

If you are on the page http://www.example.com/en/blue-widgets which is in English, you would have link to French language change as follows:
<a rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="http://www.example.com/fr/bleu-widgets">Franšais"</a>

You would also have a link to German language change as follows:
<a rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.example.com/de/blau-widgets">Deutch</a>

With regards to the sitemap, if you use rel="alternate" on page, then you do not need to use these attributes in the sitemap, in which case you would create the sitemap as per standard.

Alternatively, you can use rel="alternate" on the sitemap, but not on the page HTML. If you use them in both, you must make sure the information is aligned otherwise you may get unpredictable results.

<added an internal page example>

miteshseo




msg:4598323
 5:23 am on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi aakk9999,

Thanks for the response.

this question i also posted in https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmasters/GgJMWJc5qAs/-1TmOEC4-30J

And i got reply from Christopher Semturs - Google Employee

A) yes
B) why for different content? Can you give a concrete example on where you consider this to be useful?
C) yes

The point is he said that you can use on domain level.

aakk9999




msg:4598596
 12:08 am on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

The point is he said that you can use on domain level.

Hello miteshseo, I have read the thread you gave a link to above and Christopher Semturs (Google Employee) did not actually say that rel alternate can be used on domain level. Note that there is a difference between what means "using on a domain level" and "using across different domains".

Perhaps the confusion is that your examples show domains, but in the same time this "domain URL" from your example is actually also a page (which would be, I presume, a home page of the domain).

I think this is why Christopher Semturs is asking you for your B) question "Why for different content...", and this is why he was also asking you to provide a concrete example with real content and URLs.

If you read official google support page on rel alternate, they talk about the "page" (which may be on the same or on a different domain) [support.google.com...] but important is that the rel alternate should point to a translated page in other language and not just to the domain root where this translated internal page exists.

In other words, you will have to set up rel alternate on every page, pointing to alternate page of this page in other language (which may be on another domain) - rather than setting rel alternate for each page on one domain to point to the root page of the another domain (as I explained in my post above, see the example on blue widgets translation).

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