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GEO location hreflang for regions - Europe and Asia

hreflang google seo geo location

12:05 am on Dec 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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joined:Dec 8, 2016
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I was wonder if anyone had an ideas on the best course of action regarding hreflang values and regions.
We are in the process of bring all our ccTLDs under a global .com address with a folder structure for each country we currently support and two of the major regions (EMEA and APAC). The two regions will be in English. The Americas for the moment will be the .com site and will be the x-default.
Handling the hreflang values of the individual countries is clear, but I'm not sure about dealing with the two regions (Asia and EMEA). In Europe will have folders for all the major markets. So we would target everyone else in EU zone not covered. I have read that the following would not work because the region values of EU and AS are not understood by Google:
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-eu" hreflang="en-eu" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-as" hreflang="en-as" />
I have also read that to target a region, say Asia, I would have to apply the language and country codes of all the countries in that region to the Asia URL:
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-as" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-as" hreflang="en-nz" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-as" hreflang="en-mm" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.somecompany.com/en-as" hreflang="en-jp" />
I was wondering if anyone has any ideas?

10:19 am on Dec 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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

joined:Jan 10, 2005
posts: 2958
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Hi AJVMtl,

First of all Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Looking at your proposed approach, you may have only limited success in the EMEA region. You plan to target this region with the English language, but except for a few exceptions there is no country where English is the primary or even secondary language. For this reason specifying things like en-eu, en-de or en-fr may not have the effect you want. These language settings are not used in any browser and hence Google will not be able to match your pages with searchers based on their browser settings.

Furthermore using a region only is not valid according to Google's own support documentation [support.google.com] which is an indication that they prefer the language setting in the hreflang tag above the region setting. Google prefers focusing on visitor satisfaction and the primary way to do that is target the visitor's language, rather than the visitor's country.

You may want to reconsider the use of the generic .eu TLD to target at least the EU countries but reading your post it seems you are steering away from localized TLDs.

The optimal solution would be translating your content to the languages of the targeted audience but that of course comes at a considerable cost with significant maintenance effort needed to keep the site contents in sync across all languages.
10:44 am on Dec 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

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votes: 893

Hello AJVMtl and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]
12:26 pm on Dec 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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joined:Dec 8, 2016
posts: 7
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Thanks lammert + for the reply. I agree with all your points. Language specific content is king.

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