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Going Global with International SEO 
(hreflang Setup)
Agenda / Table of Contents 
SERP Influencers / Users 
• What influences SERPs? 
Physical Geolocation / Language / Language...
SERPs > What influences SERPs?
SERPs > Combinations of SERP Influencers 
Even considering just two languages and two different geolocations and google 
v...
SERPs > Google UK / Language EN – “wikipedia” search 
http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en 
Search completed in Poland using goo...
SERPs > Google UK / Language PL – “wikipedia” search 
http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=pl 
Regardless of the physical location ...
SERPs > Google PL / Language EN – “wikipedia” search 
http://www.google.pl/#hl=en 
Triple listing combining international,...
SERPs > Google PL / Language PL – “wikipedia” search 
http://www.google.pl/#hl=pl 
As expected a search in Poland using go...
SERPs > Conclusions 
• Language setup is more important than Physical location 
• Physical location doesn’t have much impa...
Website Setup > ccTLDs vs. subdomain vs. subfolder 
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) 
Each country can adopt its ow...
Website Setup > Geographic Targeting 
There are a two ways in which the Geographic Targeting can be assigned: 
• Country s...
Website Setup > Language/Country specification (hreflang) 
Hreflang tags are a powerful way to tell Google which internati...
Website Setup > Writing hreflang: three essential elements 
All hreflang tags contain three elements: 
• The rel=”alternat...
Website Setup > Writing hreflang: three essential elements 
It can be a good idea to have generic language sites for each ...
Website Setup > Where to add your hreflang tags 
In your sitemaps 
The best place to add hreflang is in your sitemap as in...
Website Setup > Where to add your hreflang tags 
In your headers and HTML 
Hreflang tags can also be added to the HTTP hea...
Website Setup > Testing hreflang with DeepCrawl 
1. Pages with hreflang 
All pages found with at least one hreflang tags f...
Website Setup > Testing hreflang with DeepCrawl 
2. Pages without hreflang 
You can quickly identify all pages missing hre...
Example Implementation (workshop) 
Group 1 - 
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApzW7F75d- 
1SdHRiR19PWjFpZVVyd...
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Going global with international SEO - Deepcrawl at Digital Growth Day

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Digital Growth Day: September 18, 2014

HOW TO GO GLOBAL WITH INTERNATIONAL SEO
How to implement href lang tags and avoid international duplication.

Michal Magdziarz, DeepCrawl

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Going global with international SEO - Deepcrawl at Digital Growth Day

  1. 1. Going Global with International SEO (hreflang Setup)
  2. 2. Agenda / Table of Contents SERP Influencers / Users • What influences SERPs? Physical Geolocation / Language / Language settings / Google version • “wikipedia” search experiment Website Setup How to set up your website? • ccTLDs vs. TLD subdomain vs. TLD subfolder • Geographic Targeting • Language/Country specification (hreflang) • Language Specification Workshop Example Implementation
  3. 3. SERPs > What influences SERPs?
  4. 4. SERPs > Combinations of SERP Influencers Even considering just two languages and two different geolocations and google versions we have 2*2*2*2 = 24 = 16 combinations For 20 languages 160K! Let’s test how it works in real world and how the factors affect the search results. We tested the 3 following factors: • Physical location of the searcher (UK vs PL) • Country specific Google version (google.co.uk vs google.pl) • Language Settings (hl=en vs hl=pl) The three influencing factors gave us eight combinations (4 for each physical location): • Google PL / Language PL • Google PL / Language EN • Google UK / Language PL • Google UK / Language EN
  5. 5. SERPs > Google UK / Language EN – “wikipedia” search http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en Search completed in Poland using google.co.uk with langiuage settings set to english. Despite being in Poland the results are english (international + co.uk). The physical location of a searcher didn’t seem to have had any impact on the search results.
  6. 6. SERPs > Google UK / Language PL – “wikipedia” search http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=pl Regardless of the physical location of the searcher and despite using google.co.uk polish version of wikipedia get a higher ranking than the international and english version.
  7. 7. SERPs > Google PL / Language EN – “wikipedia” search http://www.google.pl/#hl=en Triple listing combining international, english and polish versions of Wikipedia. Again searches performed in Poland and in United Kingdom are identical. The physical location of the searcher didn’t have any impact on the results.
  8. 8. SERPs > Google PL / Language PL – “wikipedia” search http://www.google.pl/#hl=pl As expected a search in Poland using google.pl with the browser language settings set to polish returns polish version of wikipedia. Again there is a very little difference between a search performed in Poland comparing to the one performed in United Kingdom.
  9. 9. SERPs > Conclusions • Language setup is more important than Physical location • Physical location doesn’t have much impact on SERPs • Google country specific version is important but not as much as Language setup
  10. 10. Website Setup > ccTLDs vs. subdomain vs. subfolder Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) Each country can adopt its own ccTLDs (country specific root domain) e.g. www.domain.de Example implementations: eBay - http://www.ebay.com, http://www.ebay.de, http://www.ebay.es Amazon - http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, http://www.amazon.de TLD Subdomains Each country can be set up on a subdomain e.g. de. domain.com Example implementation: Wikipedia - http://www.wikipedia.org, http://de.wikipedia.org, http://es.wikipedia.org TLD Subfolders Each country can be set up on a subfolder e.g. www. domain.com/de. Subfolders can also be used in conjunction with ccTLDs and subdomains Example implementations: Microsoft - www.microsoft.com/en-gb/, www.microsoft.com/de-de/ www.microsoft.com/fr-fr/ IBM - http://www.ibm.com/us/en/, http://www.ibm.com/de/de/, http://www.ibm.com/es/es/
  11. 11. Website Setup > Geographic Targeting There are a two ways in which the Geographic Targeting can be assigned: • Country specific TLDs (domain.co.uk, domain.fr, etc) have the geographic target automatically assigned and cannot be changed. • Generic TLDs such as domain.com, domain.net etc do not have a geographic target assigned and this can be specified in Google Webmaster Tools > Configuration > Settings > Geographic Target. NOTE: Independent geographic target settings can be assigned for Subfolders and Subdomains of one Generic TLD. See examples below: • TLD Subdomain: de.domain.com can be set to target Germany once fr.domain.com to France • TLD Subfolder : www.domain.com/de can be set to target Germany once www.domain.com/fr to France
  12. 12. Website Setup > Language/Country specification (hreflang) Hreflang tags are a powerful way to tell Google which international version of your site is most relevant to a user, based on their language and location. As well as improving your user experience (because it helps users land on the most relevant version of your site), hreflang also helps to aggregate authority signals around a single version of a page and are a great way to manage duplicate content issues caused by international websites. How do I know if I need hreflang? Google recommends using hreflang if you have: • Similar regional variations of the same site in the same language (eg. currency variations for GBP and USD) • The same content in different languages Does this solve duplication issue? Yes, two identical websites targeting two different audiences are not duplicates e.g. US vs UK
  13. 13. Website Setup > Writing hreflang: three essential elements All hreflang tags contain three elements: • The rel=”alternate” attribute • A language code on its own, or a language code plus a country code • One URL for the most appropriate alternative for the specified language and country For example, this hreflang tag will notify Google about an alternative version of the page suitable for English-speaking users in Great Britain (en-gb). rel=”alternate” hreflang="en-gb" href=“http://www.example.co.uk/” The “hreflang=” attribute is made from a 2-letter ISO 639 language code and the appropriate ISO 3166 geography code separated by a dash. For example: de-at: German, Austria de-de: German, Germany en-us: English, United States
  14. 14. Website Setup > Writing hreflang: three essential elements It can be a good idea to have generic language sites for each of your main languages, to account for the vast majority of your users where this isn’t a specific language + country available. A language code on its own will be used as the default where there isn’t a relevant language + country code. The following tags would account for all English and German-speaking users, no matter which country they are in: hreflang="en" href="http://www.example.com/" hreflang="de" href=“http://www.example.de/” You cannot define country only without specifying a language e.g. hreflang=“gb" href="http://www.example.com/" >> INVALID hreflang="de" href=“http://www.example.de/” >> this means German language not country The order has to be kept! Reversed order can lead to invalid specification e.g. hreflang=“gb-en" href="http://www.example.com/" >> INVALID hreflang=“fr-de" href="http://www.example.com/" >> otherwise ambigouous
  15. 15. Website Setup > Where to add your hreflang tags In your sitemaps The best place to add hreflang is in your sitemap as including them in the headers or on the page adds weight to every single page request. The following example will inform Google about the English version from the German version of the website: <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/deutsch/</loc> <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://www.example.com/english/" /> <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.example.com/deutsch/" /> </url> This method would need to be repeated in full for every page on the site and for all the international websites.
  16. 16. Website Setup > Where to add your hreflang tags In your headers and HTML Hreflang tags can also be added to the HTTP header: Link: <http://www.example.com/english/>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="en" Link: <http://www.example.com/deutsch/>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="de" Or in the <head> tag in the HTML: <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://www.example.com/english/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://www.example.com/deutsch/" />
  17. 17. Website Setup > Testing hreflang with DeepCrawl 1. Pages with hreflang All pages found with at least one hreflang tags found in the sitemaps, header or page tags. In your DeepCrawl report, go to: Validation > Pages with hreflang Tags The report shows a detailed view of each page’s alternative URLs for every language/country variation used on the site. This view will also show you if a tag has been implemented inconsistently - there should be no gaps in this table:
  18. 18. Website Setup > Testing hreflang with DeepCrawl 2. Pages without hreflang You can quickly identify all pages missing hreflang tags within the sitemaps, header, or page tags. Go to: Validation > Pages without hreflang Tags 3. Pages with inconsistent hreflang If there more than one alternative URL specified for a country + language combination, they will be flagged as inconsistent in this report. Go to: Validation > Inconsistent hreflang Tags
  19. 19. Example Implementation (workshop) Group 1 - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApzW7F75d- 1SdHRiR19PWjFpZVVydzI2OTBoVXNmUkE&usp=sharing Group 2 - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApzW7F75d- 1SdHRiR19PWjFpZVVydzI2OTBoVXNmUkE&usp=drive_web#gid=10 Group 3 - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApzW7F75d- 1SdHRiR19PWjFpZVVydzI2OTBoVXNmUkE&usp=drive_web#gid=9 Group 4 - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApzW7F75d- 1SdHRiR19PWjFpZVVydzI2OTBoVXNmUkE&usp=drive_web#gid=8

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