Internationalization

Internationalization is the process of creating multiple websites for users in different locations with content in their native language. It is important that these websites are optimized for their target audience and are indexed and served to the correct users in the correct language. Our Hangout Notes cover common questions around internationalization with advice and recommendations for optimizing international websites.

Try to Have the Fewest Internationalised Versions of a Site

March 17, 2020 Source

Adding many internationalised versions of a website increases the complexity, so you’re better to have fewer versions if possible, especially if you have pages where you can rely on geo-targeting without hreflang. You can use Search Console and web analytics to see if people are landing on the wrong pages, and implement hreflang for those. For different language versions, hreflang can help Google to show the right version, but searches for long tail content are easily recognisable for which language version to show, so hreflang may not be necessary.


Hreflang May Not be Necessary For Translated Versions of Pages

January 22, 2020 Source

Pages with different language content don’t necessarily need hreflang because the text is different so Google would treat them as unique pages and not as duplicates.


Google Tries to Detect User’s Language Preferences if Using Default Version of Chrome

January 7, 2020 Source

Google is aware that sometimes users download the default version of Chrome in English rather than their preferred language, and will try to detect this and show the correct language versions of pages to help with localization.


Hreflang is Not Required For Untranslated Pages

November 29, 2019 Source

As hreflang is handled on a per page basis, if you have different language versions of your site but not every page is translated, it isn’t a requirement to have hreflang set up for these pages. John recommends choosing the method that best suits individual websites, this could be either including the URL in the hreflang set or not including the URL.


Hreflang Can be Implemented on Small Groups of Pages

October 29, 2019 Source

Hreflang doesn’t have to be implemented across an entire site. Sometimes it makes sense to implement hreflang on individual pages or sections where there are problems, or where it is especially important that the correct page is shown.


You Can Publish Different Language Variations of Content Without Using Subdomains or Subdirectories

October 18, 2019 Source

Content in different language variations should be on different URLs, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be put on subdirectories or subdomains. For example, this could be achieved with different parameters.


Google Have a List Of ccTLDs That They Treat As Generic TLDs

October 1, 2019 Source

To find out if your website is treated as a generic domain, John recommends accessing the international settings in GSC and seeing if you can set an international target.


Translated Content is Treated as a Completely New Piece of Content

October 1, 2019 Source

Content that has been translated by a translator is treated as unique content and not seen as spun content, this is because the words are different when translated from one language to another.


Hreflang Can be Implemented on Small Groups of Pages

September 3, 2019 Source

If you’re only seeing issues with how your homepage is being displayed, then you can add hreflang to that page. You don’t have to implement hreflang across large sections of the site.


Related Topics

Geotargeting Language Local Search Hreflang