Is Hreflang Useful

HreflangAs an SEO Consultant with a global localisation company one of the issues I see is sites which compete with themselves. A US e-commerce page showing up in Canada or the UK, a Brazilian page showing up in Portugal, even US pages showing up in non-English speaking countries for branded searches.

We need to tell Google about the structure of our sites using geo-targeting, so that local users get the local pages, so they pay in the local currency (having seen the correct prices for their markets), so they see local contact details.

One client I worked with had to support 10 English language markets, 7 Spanish markets as well as French speaking markets, German speaking markets – with overlaps (Switzerland / Belgium).

Previously we had to rely on a number of factors to determine market

  1. Setting up International Targeting at country level in Google Search Console.
  2. Language – ensuring only a single language existed on each page.
  3. Using local signals such as address, currency
  4. Using the html lang tag

Problems arise though. If your US pages go live first, you can’t have hreflang in place until everything goes live. The US pages get indexed for particular keywords, Google sees new versions of the page, for other English speaking markets as duplicates so it keeps them out of the index.

This leads to out of market pages showing up in search results and can lead to issues such as the user purchasing a product in US$ rather than $AU. Or calling the wrong support number for their region. It can also annoy a user leading them to go elsewhere. Continue reading “Is Hreflang Useful”