Search London enabled me to talk recently about one of my continuing fascinations, Hreflang. Search London is a meetup group which aims to bring those who work in SEO, Social and PPC together. Events are organised with members from a mixture of an agency, client side and start-ups. It is an excellent opportunity to meet fellow search professionals and catch up with the latest news in the industry.
My preoccupation began out of necessity in 2012 when Google announced a simpler way to implement the Hreflang attribution using XML sitemaps. At the time MediaFlow had a client who sold products on three English languages (variants) of their website .com, .au and .co.uk for American, Australian and UK customers. The UK pages were showing up in the American search engine and the US facing version showing up in the Australian search engine. On paper the Hreflang sitemaps solution was required; however, no other agency had implemented this.
We pioneered this solution in a process of trial and error, requiring time, effort as well as frustration in the delicate mapping of URL to attribute. We templated our solution and created a tool to generate the sitemap references/attribute mappings. Within one week each separate geographical domain began to rank within the correct search engine index.
Since its launch, the tool has been featured in talks, case studies, blog posts by many of the industry-leading international SEO experts including Lisa Myers, Aleyda Solis and, David Sottimano. The tool is now freely available and is used by over 3,000 SEO professionals across the world and can be found in position 1 and 2 for terms relating to it.
We continue to carry out numerous Hreflang projects and remain acknowledged experts by the industry.
Google uses the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” attributes to serve the correct language or regional URL in Search results. ( Source Google) This piece of coding will show the spiders that your pages aren’t duplicate pages but optimised for users in different regions and languages.