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Does hreflang work across different TLDs?

     
12:25 pm on Nov 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

So we have a bunch of websites which target various countries across the world.
Our current domain structure is set up as such:

uk.mywebsite.com
de.mywebsite.com
es.mywebsite.com
us.mywebsite.com

They carry on like this for most countries in Europe with a few international ones too. We have been having issues where the "uk." domain is showing up frequently in other European SERPs and even in American SERPs where our "us." domain should be shown.

My question is, is it possible to set up correct hreflang tags on these websites and stop the wrong sites showing in incorrect countries SERPs?
5:21 pm on Nov 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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''hreflang' isn't the issue - at least not the primary issue. It sounds like you haven't set Geographic Targets on these subdomains in the Google Search Console. Doing so would insure that users in those countries will see the intended content. See [support.google.com...]

.
10:19 pm on Nov 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I agree with rainborick that hreflang isn't the issue. I'm thinking, though, that the issue might be the change that Google has recently made to how users choose what results they see.

Previously, if users viewed results on, say, google.de, they would see results 'localized' to Google in Germany, regardless of user-location when they viewed these. Now, that localization is no longer determined by the ccTLD of the Google search site a user is viewing, but rather by the location of the searcher.

So, as I understand it, if you are now monitoring your Google.de results from, say, the UK, you would be seeing UK results, not DE results. I've tried this from the US, and what serps I see when I do this are not precisely clear-cut. According to Google, you can still monitor your DE results, but to do so you need to make that choice via your Search Settings.

See our discussion here...

Country-specific Google sites now all searching my local country
Oct 27, 2017
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4874425.htm [webmasterworld.com]

In the thread cite Google's article describing the change...

Making search results more local and relevant
Evelyn Kao, Product Manager
Published Oct 27, 2017

[blog.google...]

To repeat what I'd quoted previously...
...the choice of country service will no longer be indicated by domain. Instead, by default, you’ll be served the country service that corresponds to your location....

If for some reason you don't see the right country when you're browsing, you can still go into settings and select the correct country service you want to receive. Typing the relevant ccTLD in your browser will no longer bring you to the various country services—this preference should be managed directly in settings. If for some reason you don't see the right country when you're browsing, you can still go into settings and select the correct country service you want to receive. Typing the relevant ccTLD in your browser will no longer bring you to the various country services—this preference should be managed directly in settings. In addition, at the bottom of the search results page, you can clearly see which country service you are currently using.

"Clearly" may be an overstatement. I've not had time to revise my settings, though, to test this. For Google.de from the US, the results without changing the settings seem to be semi-localized to Germany, but not what I've experienced before this change was made.

If you give this a try, please report back about what you see. You will need to be signed into Google for the settings to be noted.

11:01 pm on Nov 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Of course, the version of Google shown to a user is just the other side of the same coin - geo-location. In any case, it's so rare for Google to show a site in the SERPs with a non-matching Geographic Target that I believe that's the problem here.
10:00 am on Nov 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I already have the correct Geographic Targets selected in search console for all of our sites and when performing SERP checks for over seas I used isearchfrom.com or another, similar service.

There is one exception however, we have an "International" site that targets all countries other than those in Europe and is presented in the English language. I understand that this is mainly a problem that only we can solve internally as currently there is no country selected in Search Console's International Targeting. I would be great if I could somehow exclude our international site from showing in certain countries SERPs such as: Germany, England, Norway, Spain...
 

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