Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Webmaster Level: All
The homepages of multinational and multilingual websites are sometimes configured to point visitors
to localized pages, either via redirects or by changing the content to reflect the user's
language. Today we'll introduce a new
rel-alternate-hreflang annotation that you can
use to specify such homepages that is supported by both Google and
To see this in action, let's look at an example. The website example.com has content that targets users around the world as follows:
https://example.com/en-gb: For English-speaking users in the UK
https://example.com/en-us: For English-speaking users in the USA
https://example.com/en-au: For English-speaking users in Australia
https://example.com/: The homepage shows users a country selector and is the default page for users worldwide
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/en-gb" hreflang="en-gb" /> <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/en-us" hreflang="en-us" /> <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/en-au" hreflang="en-au" /> <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/" hreflang="x-default" />
hreflang attribute value signals to
our algorithms that this page doesn't target any specific language or locale and is the default
page when no other page is better suited. For example, it would be the page our algorithms try to
show French-speaking searchers worldwide or English-speaking searchers on google.ca.
The same annotation applies for homepages that dynamically alter their contents based on a user's
perceived geolocation or the
Accept-Language headers. The
hreflang value signals to our algorithms that such a page doesn't target a specific
language or locale.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please tell us in the Internationalization Webmaster Help Forum.