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The rel "alternate" hreflang "x" and Geotargeting

 6:39 pm on Nov 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have read the documentation from Google about the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" tag.
Using this tag tells Google where pages are located with basically the same content, but in other languages or tageted at other geo locations.

Now I have a question about this:

Let's say I have the website example.com.
It is in English, and I welcome worldwide the English speaking visitor.
For Adsense optimization however, I have set the geo targeting (in webmastertools) to USA, so that this helps me to get the optimal number of visitors from the USA.

However, Canada and the UK are also intersting countries to get visitors from.

Now if I would use the 'rel="alternate" hreflang="x"' tag, could I optimize to get visitors from those countries too ?


I setup a copy of example.com at

and then adding to the headers:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-US" href="http://www.example.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-CO.UK" href="http://www.example.co.uk/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-CA" href="http://www.example.ca/" />

So I tell Google these are pages with basically the same content, geo targeted at different countries.

Normally this is done when for example you work with payments, and one country pays in US dollar, a and another one in British Pound. Then you can setup copies from your pages, each with the correct currency, and you tell Google what page is for which country.

In my case I would change some grammar as used grammar can be a bit different in the different English speaking countries,but that would be the only difference there is between the pages.

In my example example.com doesn't rank so well for Canada ( as it is geo targeted for USA), but using this tag, do you think example.ca would rank better in Canada then example.com ?

Do you think it makes sense to set up these copies with country specific tld's, (and using the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" tag) to rank better in the country specific search engines ?

( assuming that country specific tld's are a positive factor in country specific search engines )

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 7:29 pm (utc) on Nov 22, 2013]
[edit reason] Changes mysite to preferred example.com [/edit]



 9:26 pm on Nov 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-CO.UK" href="http://www.example.co.uk/" />

You have a syntax error. This should be:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-
GB" href="http://www.example.co.uk/" />

In my example example.com doesn't rank so well for Canada ( as it is geo targeted for USA), but using this tag, do you think example.ca would rank better in Canada then example.com ?

All other things equal, it should, as .ca is automatically geotargetted to Canada. But external links and domain trust may come to play if the .com is established domain with external links, citations etc. and .ca is a brand new domain that has to earn links and trust. The SERPs competition for each country would also influence the results.


 12:28 am on Nov 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Note that if you're not a Canadian citizen, registering a .ca domain name isn't quite as simple as a .com.

If all you're doing is changing the currency and perhaps a bit of spelling here and there, I doubt you'll rank much better as a result of that, and you'll have possibly overcomplicated your website set up for little to no benefit. I would rather direct my time and efforts towards increasing your popularity (through links, advertising or whatever) within these other countries; if you succeed in that, your rankings are more likely to improve. In that respect, localized content can, of course, still aid that.


 9:45 pm on Nov 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your insights !


 5:01 pm on Nov 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

you should read this to gain some understanding of language and geotargeting according to google.
Multi-regional and multilingual sites - Webmaster Tools Help:
http://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en [support.google.com]


 10:26 am on Nov 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, I've read that.
(my question about seo was not addressed at those Google pages)
Thx for the tip.


 4:42 am on Nov 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

it is about SEO, although indirectly.
geotargeting will filter your content for a specific google.cctld index.
being filtered into the wrong index is suboptimal.

language targeting is independent of geography.

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