|Questions on hreflang Sitemaps||Steve Morgan||9/20/12 2:38 AM|
Hi Pierre, Christopher et al,
I had a few questions regarding hreflang Sitemaps, which I'm hoping will be worthwhile to other 'hreflangers' as it looks like they've not been covered before (either in the official Webmaster Tools documentation or within this forum). Rather than post each of them separately, I thought it best to put them into one post - I hope that's ok.
|Re: Questions on hreflang Sitemaps||pierrefar||9/20/12 6:27 AM|
Good questions. In order.
1. A good way to think about this is that for each language, pick the "default" page that doesn't target any specific countery. In your example, suppose that example.com/category/page is such a page in English. Next you would mark up its alternates that target specific language + country combinations. To fully mark up your example:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://example.com/category/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="http://example.com/uk/category/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://example.com/us/category/page" />
I'm unclear about the differences between /international and the /category pages. Are you suggesting they are the same content that serve the same purpose but on different URLs?
2. If a URL doesn't have an alternate for a given language (or language+country combination), then you simply don't mark it up. They would be (404) error pages (right?).
3. I'm not sure I fully understand this question, so in general terms: If we discover multiple URLs that have substantially the same content, our algorithms will pick one representative URL for this content (the canonical URL) to index and show in our search results. You can use rel="canonical" in addition to rel-alternate-hreflang as long as it's between pages that are genuinely the same. For example, don't use rel="canonical" between different languages (e.g. French and English) or between two pages where the differences are important (e.g. en-gb with prices in GBP and the UK VAT rate and en-us with prices in USD).
4. Our standard recommendations for Sitemaps apply here. Update them when you update your content, and update the rel-alternate-hreflang annotations when new pages are added to the cluster. And if Googlebot discovers a URL that is not part of any rel-alternate-hreflang cluster, then it's fine: it's how sites that don't use rel-alternate-hreflang (i.e. most sites!) are handled. It's OK to have only a subset of the pages on a site annotated as part of rel-alternate-hreflang clusters.
Finally, I did a hangout about this topic recently that goes into more details and may help you: http://youtu.be/fRT5NSbtGrQ .
Hope this helps,
|Re: Questions on hreflang Sitemaps||Steve Morgan||9/21/12 5:50 AM|
Thank you for replying, it's much appreciated.
Yes, I was in the Hangout and found it very useful! :-)
Thanks again, Pierre!