Categories: Internationalization :

Regional targeting and canonical

Showing 1-19 of 19 messages
Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 8/25/12 4:50 AM
Hello,

Currently i'm optimizing a website/online shop. We target Austria (de-AT) and Germany (de-DE). Therefore we are setting up regional targeting, using link rel="alternate".

As the customer decided to use the subfolder structure in favor of ccTLD and gTLD with subdomains, our structure currently looks like:


We already implemented the rel alternate tag. However I'm wondering how to implement the link="canonical". The shop might create different product pages for some product variants. Therefore we need the canonical tag. 

Should we
a) Set up a canonical tag for each subfolder structure. E.g. you are on the /at/ version, your canonical will point to www.example.com/at/product.php?product_id=1, the /de/ version will point to /de/-caonical and so on... 
b) Mark the general version as a canonical, e.g. you are on the /at/ version, the canonical will point to www.example.com/product.php?product_id=1, the /de/ will also point to the general version and so on...

Thank for your help.

Yours
Re: Regional targeting and canonical JohnMu 8/27/12 3:38 AM
Hi Yuest
Provided the content is not completely identical (eg different addresses, prices, currencies, etc), I would recommend using the rel=canonical to point to the country/language-specific preferred version, not to a general version. By pointing to a general version, we'd otherwise lose the unique content / information associated with the country-specific version of the URL. 

Cheers
John
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 9/5/12 4:10 AM
Thank you for your answer.

In this special case the content is completly identical. We may alter the content in the future by showing different delivery conditions etc, but right now all three pages are identical. At the moment, we are just doing it for geo-targeting reasons.

Should we still point to the country-specific version?

Yours
Gerhard
Re: Regional targeting and canonical JohnMu 9/5/12 5:24 AM
Hi Gerhard

If you are considering expanding the displayed content to include country-specific information (for example, if you were to include a Swiss version at some point :)), then I'd continue to point to the country-specific versions. That way, you're prepared for future enhancements and don't have to worry about changing the setup again. From a search point of view, the difference (using a single canonical vs two for two country versions) is likely not going to be noticeable, so I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about that decision and instead base it on what the bigger picture is for these sites. 

Cheers
John
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Nikolaj_LB 9/6/12 5:45 AM
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.dk/2011/12/new-markup-for-multilingual-content.html  - This should help you! :)
Re: Regional targeting and canonical BelindaSuva 9/6/12 5:56 AM
I would not use canonical 'tags' when those pages need to rank. When f.i. you tell Google thru Webmaster Tools to geotarget these pages, in other words: make those pages relevant to their geographical locations, you give the searchengine a contradictory signal by serving it a canonical.

The effect of a 'geotarget request' thru GWT could be that Google is less inclined to mark your content as duplicate. So i would take the risk.  

Just curious: is ALL content identical, even the metadescriptions etc.?
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 9/7/12 2:17 AM
@Nikolaj_LB: Well thank you, found that before... but it's not exactly what I am looking for. It says not to use canonical for regional targeting however I still need the canonical to avoid duplicates.

@BelindaSuva: Well I will point the caonical to each subdirectory's version as all three versions should rank and duplicates need to be avoided (the shop currently creates a mess of urls, e.g. category pages may be sorted ASC and DESC with additional get parameters)

The content itself is identical - except the rel="alternate" tag and rel="canonical". Oh and of course the links change from /... to /de/... or /at/..., which is tiny bit off differnce. "Visual" content is identical.

Cheers :-)
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Meding44 9/7/12 7:54 AM
Hi @Yuest really interesting topic for me also it's a challenge and insights from @JohnMU are more than welcome !
I would like to have a stance from Googler about pointing to general version as far as parameters handling is not big challenge and can be sorted just by rewrite or redirect.
The question is : if we have many folders geotargeting different countires different language (/fr-CA, /en-CA, /fr-FR, /en-EU...) and we manage preferences through GWT for each folder by specifiying the Geotarget, and all content is the same except of course Meta title and description (geo-targeted), do we need to add a canonical to General version : /en and /fr ?
It would be glad from "JohnMU to answer us for this specific query.
Thanks for your participation
Re: Regional targeting and canonical vaL0r 9/7/12 8:24 AM
usually as per the culture , few pages element would change ( exemple the prices )
the question is canonical or not to the preffered version.
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Meding44 9/7/12 12:51 PM
According to @JohnMU intervention :

By pointing to a general version, we'd otherwise lose the unique content / information associated with the country-specific version of the URL

This seems have a big impact on regional ranking and that's our target : to rank regionnaly for each country specific URL.
I would love to have a stance form @JohnMU on this matter.
For example, when we release a mobile version we know that we point to main URL (Desktop) as canonical but Google knows that when search is perforned on mobile device. it will serve the mobile version URL in SERPs. So if adding a canonical to general version doesn't make the country specific URL rank in SERPs, we need to review this !
Thanks again @Yuest for this interesting thread.

Re: Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 9/14/12 12:06 AM
On last thing...

Should we use:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de-DE" href="//www.example.com/de/category.php?id_category=14" /> 

OR

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de-DE" href="http://www.example.com/de/category.php?id_category=14" />  

OR 

should we provide http / https dynamically?
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Christopher Semturs 9/14/12 7:08 AM
both will work, I assume you have a natural preference for either http or https though (And should be consistent on that).

Re: Regional targeting and canonical Tiggerito2 9/14/12 7:20 AM
Chris,

Just to clarify something, does that mean starting a URL with // is a valid syntax in an href or src attribute? 

Does the recipience of this assume the protocol is the same as the source document?

I wonder if that also works in .htaccess files?
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Christopher Semturs 9/14/12 7:42 AM
yes, it is valid.

 Official documentation in RFC 3986:

A relative reference that begins with two slash characters is termed a network-path reference; such references are rarely used. A relative reference that begins with a single slash character is termed an absolute-path reference. A relative reference that does not begin with a slash character is termed a relative-path reference.

---
this is useful for resource links (e.g. images). However, for annotations (like hreflang or rel-canonical), I don't see any reason for doing this. After all, you as the webmaster should have a clear preference on http vs. https and tell the search engines about this.


Cheers,
Christopher

Re: Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 9/14/12 7:54 AM
Well your point is true for the rel-canonical tag. The rel-alternate tag refers to the "alternatve language/regional-version version of this file".

In others words, I feel that rel-alternate should teel search engines: Hey, welcome search engine! I might be a duplicate, so please index only the canonical (e.g. http-version) and ignore the https-version. However, if you're looking for exactly this file in de-DE, you may take a look at the rel-alternate link.
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Tiggerito2 9/14/12 8:51 AM
This could be handy knowledge.

Maybe going off topic though, should a new thread be created?

Wouldn't it make sense to make all href and src attributes just use //. This way the pages will smoothy migrate between http and https versions. No more broken secure pages or accidental switching.

It makes sense that canonical tags and protocol switching links should still use the full URL form.

We're also saving 4 characters per link :-)

But then, how many spiders will not get it. Time to test mine!
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Christopher Semturs 9/15/12 3:29 AM
Hi Yuest,

I understand that reasoning, but if you are consistent it again does not matter anymore.
For instance:

So you would have rel-canonical B->A, and D->C, right? And rel-alternate on A<>C and B<>D, right?
In that case your message is pretty consistent, saying that search engines should use only A and C, and telling about the relationship between those two. Is this your scenario?


Cheers,
Christopher

Re: Regional targeting and canonical Meding44 9/27/12 6:48 AM
Hey @yan I just spoted another discussion on Google+ initiated by Pierre Far who also advises not to add Canonical for international SEO as versions are not exactly the same (Title, currency..) .
Re: Regional targeting and canonical Yuest 9/27/12 11:44 PM
Well Christopher, that's my scenario. 

Thanks.