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International SEO: The Weird Technical Parts - Pubcon Vegas 2019 Patrick Stox

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International SEO: The Weird Technical Parts - Pubcon Vegas 2019 Patrick Stox

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International SEO: The Weird Technical Parts - Pubcon Vegas 2019 Patrick Stox

  1. 1. @patrickstox #pubcon International SEO: The Weird Technical Parts Presented by: Patrick Stox
  2. 2. @patrickstox #pubcon • Technical SEO for IBM - Opinions expressed are my own and not those of IBM. • I write, mainly for Search Engine Land • I speak at some conferences like this one, SMX, TechSEO Boost • Organizer for the Raleigh SEO Meetup (most successful in US) • We also run a conference, the Raleigh SEO Conference • Also the Beer & SEO Meetup (because beer) • 2017 + 2018 + 2019 US Search Awards Judge, 2017 + 2018 + 2019 UK Search Awards Judge, 2018 + 2019 Interactive Marketing Awards Judge • Founder Technical SEO Slack Group • Moderator /r/TechSEO on Reddit Who is Patrick Stox?
  3. 3. @patrickstox #pubcon First Off, Listen to Aleyda! Those were best practices
  4. 4. @patrickstox #pubcon Hreflang https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/965507331369984002
  5. 5. @patrickstox #pubcon • They work in pairs to form a cluster of pages • They get to share signals like links from the strongest page in the cluster which helps other versions rank better when correct. More About Hreflang
  6. 6. @patrickstox #pubcon
  7. 7. @patrickstox #pubcon This Is What Happens When They Break • Multiple pages show • Wrong versions show • Titles may not match pages
  8. 8. @patrickstox #pubcon Common Misconception #1 People say Yandex doesn’t support hreflang in sitemaps They do! https://yandex.ru/support/webmaster/controlling- robot/sitemap-local.html#sitemap-local
  9. 9. @patrickstox #pubcon
  10. 10. @patrickstox #pubcon Common Misconception #2 Sitemaps are better because hreflang is processed faster. The reality is signals are checked at time of crawl whether sitemap or html.
  11. 11. @patrickstox #pubcon Common Misconception #3 Hreflang is based on your canonical tag. It doesn’t matter what your canonical is set as, it matters what the indexed version is. (more on why that is important later)
  12. 12. @patrickstox #pubcon Here’s What You Can Get Away With AKA Google is going to ignore of fix these things for you
  13. 13. @patrickstox #pubcon Looks like Google lets it slide, although standards and best practices say to use “–” instead of “_” https://twitter.com/dsottimano/status/867315538057474049 Hreflang – Underscore Instead of Dash
  14. 14. @patrickstox #pubcon
  15. 15. @patrickstox #pubcon https://www.reddit.com/r/TechSEO/comments/87pxsu/i_am_john_ mueller_webmaster_trends_analyst_at/ Hreflang – en-UK instead of en-GB
  16. 16. @patrickstox #pubcon Is it essential to have self-referencing hreflang tags? John Mueller: No. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjbaDP-P7PA&t=24m39s Hreflang – Self Referencing
  17. 17. @patrickstox #pubcon https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/702080129804189696 Hreflang – Relative vs Absolute URLs
  18. 18. @patrickstox #pubcon Hreflang to a URL that Redirects Mostly true, but X-default can be used for auto- redirecting, serving dynamic content, or as a language selector page.
  19. 19. @patrickstox #pubcon More about X-default The way this works is by most specific match, so based on signals what is the best matching page: • lc-cc = language in the specified country • lc = doesn't match a country but matches the language settings of the user searching • x-default = overall default if it doesn't match any language+country or language or if it can't be determined. This is like a catch all for anything that doesn't match anything else.
  20. 20. @patrickstox #pubcon What Will Break Things
  21. 21. @patrickstox #pubcon Putting Everything On One Page Googlebot crawls from the US, putting all versions of content on one page just means they only see one version.
  22. 22. @patrickstox #pubcon Also Be Careful with Auto-Redirecting People usually use some combination of cookies, IP, and browser language.
  23. 23. @patrickstox #pubcon Redirect all users based on location • Pros: Users mostly end up on the right version • Cons: cost, complexity, maintenance, accuracy, crawl/index issues, titles and descriptions in the wrong language • Would redirect search engines to where they crawl from. Google for instance mostly crawls from the US so we would effectively de-index all geo pages. For other search engines and occasionally from Google (they sometimes crawl from outside the US) we may remove the US pages from the index. • Potential legal issues with EU Anti-Geoblocking Regulations which tell you not to automatically redirect users to a different country, to give them an option https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/faq/geo-blocking.
  24. 24. @patrickstox #pubcon Redirect Users but not Search Engines https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66355?hl=en https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6144055?hl=en
  25. 25. @patrickstox #pubcon Give the user a choice https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en
  26. 26. @patrickstox #pubcon Be Careful With These Banners https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/821328556181622784
  27. 27. @patrickstox #pubcon Check Your Stack Encoding characters in URLs with UTF-8 is fine with Google, but there may be a point of failure in your tech stack where it is not supported.
  28. 28. @patrickstox #pubcon Page Serves From A Different URL Than How It’s Indexed You need the indexed version in your tags. Canonicalization can be complex: Canonical tag, redirects, internal linking, sitemap URLs, hreflang???, etc.
  29. 29. @patrickstox #pubcon <head> Break https://ohgm.co.uk/breaking-head-quietly/ You can’t have hreflang tags in the body because they could be used for hijacking. The tags can be forced into the body section under certain conditions. Can be caused by things like iframes or <p> tags in the <head> section, can be from injecting them. Use DOM breakpoints to troubleshoot.
  30. 30. @patrickstox #pubcon What Happens with Different Setups?
  31. 31. @patrickstox #pubcon Domains Domain names can expire. Domains can become invalidated in GSC (impacts sitemap implementation of hreflang) Difficult to maintain.
  32. 32. @patrickstox #pubcon Subdomain Can become invalidated in GSC (impacts sitemap implementation of hreflang) SEOs don’t like them and may try to change things. Change is when things go wrong.
  33. 33. @patrickstox #pubcon Same page in multiple countries, what happens? Google views as duplicates and folds together in their index (they’re trying to help us by consolidating the duplicates). Wrong versions of the pages show in the locales, whichever page became the main version when folded shows instead. Any – Duplicates
  34. 34. @patrickstox #pubcon Eventually Google will make the connections via hreflang tags and pages will be swapped properly based on locale and the correct one will show Any – Duplicates
  35. 35. @patrickstox #pubcon https://searchengineland.com/google-changed-the-way-it-works-and- no-one-really-noticed-300213 Any – Duplicates
  36. 36. @patrickstox #pubcon Mostly language based with dynamic personalization or options for different countries. Fewer, stronger pages. What I Prefer
  37. 37. @patrickstox #pubcon How to Troubleshoot
  38. 38. @patrickstox #pubcon GSC Shows Data on Canonical https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/02/consolid ating-your-website-traffic-on.html
  39. 39. @patrickstox #pubcon Checking GSC URL inspector to see how pages are indexed
  40. 40. @patrickstox #pubcon GSC International Targeting Report
  41. 41. @patrickstox #pubcon The right way to check which page is ranking in a country 1. Go to the version of Google for the country and perform your search. 2. At the end of the search url add &hl=lc&gl=cc where lc is the language code and cc is the country code.
  42. 42. @patrickstox #pubcon Proactive Monitoring Regression tests, crawlers, proactive crawlers Any number of things can break from masking to things carrying over from dev/test/staging environments, CMS issues, etc.
  43. 43. @patrickstox #pubcon @patrickstox

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