Categories: Internationalization :

Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers

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Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Shirin Oskooi 11/10/13 7:32 AM
Google is sending all international traffic to the US version of Yahoo Answers as of September. Yahoo specifies a canonical URL to send the user to the correct international version of Answers, but it's no longer being respected.  What this means for users who click through to Answers is that they are seeing the Yahoo Answers Q&A content they intended to see, but the surroundings of the page are in US English as opposed to the language/content of their locale.

In September, Yahoo Answers launched a redesign to the US version of the site. Because the redesign is vastly different from the old site (which all international versions of the product still use), it's suspected that Google may think this is fundamentally different (and fresher) content.

Hummingbird was launched around the same time, so it's possible that had a role in this change.

Any thoughts on what could be going on here? Will launching the redesign to the rest of the international versions solve this problem? Putting a 301 redirect in place to fix the issue is also being discussed, however this has some product implications that would rather be avoided. Furthermore, it's unclear how this will impact SEO for Answers going forward.

Thanks!
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers webado 11/10/13 8:24 AM
>>Yahoo specifies a canonical URL to send the user to the correct international version of Answers, but it's no longer being respected.

Do you mean links with hreflang for the particular language & country version ? I didn't see canonical link tags (which is just as well because I think you need hreflang in fact).

I believe your links with the hreflang attribute are missing the rel="alternate"  attribute .

However I also see that you don't have 1:1 hreflang link tags . They all seem to point to the homepage of the particular language, rather then the corresponding url on another language/country subdomain. This won't help with establishing the necessary relationship between pages with the same content in different languages or for different countries.

Unless your different country subdomains are not meant to carry the same/equivalent content or not for everything. Then perhaps there's a more fundamental issue there.
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers cristina 11/10/13 8:25 AM
Can you give some examples of URLs and searches you made?

Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers webado 11/10/13 8:29 AM
Are the various subdomains geo-targeted to individual countries?
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers webado 11/10/13 8:32 AM
Seeing how the site functions I don't believe it's possible to guarantee the existence of the same questions/answers in all the different subdomains.

Could you provide an example of a query where Google is sending all international traffic to the US version of Yahoo Answers ?
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Lysis 11/10/13 9:41 AM
I LOL'd at Yahoo relying on Google traffic.
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Shirin Oskooi 11/10/13 11:50 PM
Subdomains are assigned in GWT to individual countries. (However, Answers has never actually switched subdomains based on incoming IP.) That and canonical is what had worked up until September. Why would it have stopped working?
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers cristina 11/11/13 8:32 AM
Can you give a few examples of search phrases in search results and URLs?


Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Shirin Oskooi 11/11/13 11:55 AM
query on google.fr: combien vaut pi

Note: I'm currently in Israel and ran these queries while logged out of my Google Account, so even if my IP were taken into account, it shouldn't be for U.S.
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers John Mueller 11/11/13 2:24 PM
Hi Shirin
This is something you could resolve by using the hreflang markup - so that we can recognize that these URLs are equivalent, and understand which one is the best one to show for the individual languages / locations. 

Cheers
John
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Shirin Oskooi 11/11/13 11:46 PM
hreflang is currently used only for the Yahoo Answers homepages. I understand that hreflang is supposed to indicate pages where there are different versions of the same page in different languages. This is not what Answers does: there is no "alternative" version of a question id; there is only one page in one language. It's just that, eg, an Italian url can be served from an English locale.

However, some of Google's verbiage implies that it's ok to use hreflang to indicate the primary page language even if the template is in another language. Is this the case? If so, adding hreflang could potentially fix the issue.

Also, why is google ignoring the geotargeting done in gwt?
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/62399

Thanks!
Shirin
Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers webado 11/12/13 4:45 AM
>> there is no "alternative" version of a question id; there is only one page in one language. It's just that, eg, an Italian url can be served from an English locale.
What  you actually seem to mean (and I saw some cases too) is that  you have   urls from several different country subdomains for the same question. So they are alternative versions.

Your question in English  (language code "en") will have the corresponding set of hreflang links for all the CC subdomains where it can be displayed like this:

hreflang="en-US" rel="alternate" for the US  url
hreflang="en-GB" rel="alternate" for the UK  url
hreflang="en-AU" rel="alternate" for the AU  url
hreflang="en-CA" rel="alternate" for the CA  url
hreflang="en-AR" rel="alternate" for the AR  url
hreflang="en-IT" rel="alternate" for the IT  url
etc.

A question in Italian will have:

hreflang="it-US" rel="alternate" for the US  url
hreflang="it-GB" rel="alternate" for the UK  url
hreflang="it-AU" rel="alternate" for the AU  url
hreflang="it-CA" rel="alternate" for the CA  url
hreflang="it-AR" rel="alternate" for the AR  url
etc.


You need to identify the language of the question, which may indeed be a problem.



Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers Christophe Frenet 11/13/13 7:35 AM
In this example:
You have the exact same content available on 2 different URL. As far as I can see, you don't restrict the indexation of any of those (through robots.txt or meta robots in the page). You rely on the meta canonical to provide the "original" URL. Why don't you put a noindex on the non-original page that you don't want to see indexed?

You might have some trouble even by using the hreflang metatag I guess as you don't translate the content. In that example, the content is in French on both US and FR sites so the locale you would be giving (en-US for instance) is wrong. 
Ideally it should be like that, on both pages header:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="http://fr.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101116030012AA72OZO" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-US" href="http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101116030012AA72OZO" />
But that would require you to have a real localization, which is not the case. 

I would recommend to noindex the copy (answers.yahoo.com) in that example.



Re: Google directing all i18n traffic to US version of Yahoo Answers webado 11/13/13 4:57 PM
Actually what I was suggesting and what I think John was suggesting is more like this:


<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr-FR" href="http://fr.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101116030012AA72OZO" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr-US" href="http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101116030012AA72OZO" />

and no cross-domain canonical link tag.