Advance SEO: REL=”ALTERNATE” HREFLANG=”X” for “One to Too Many”


Previously I have shared here the post about fixing duplicate Meta Description on Multilingual sites and now we are going to see that Meta description is not only the problem with multilingual sites it can also create issues about duplicate content and that is why it is essential to know about hreflang attribute for International or Multilingual sites.

Businesses often want to capture a larger market than it used to be. For multinational companies, it is a need that needs to be fulfilled. Multinational corporations with websites won’t want a hassle of translating each web to a different domain containing a translated version of the original content. It is however, risker for SEO because it can trigger duplicate contents. In this case, rel=”canonical” and 301 redirects can be ineffective. A need for advanced SEO must be realized.

Businesses may not compromise the websites content by creating a translated version (that may be different from what is expected) but SEO companies will not also jeopardize SEO webmaster guidelines. But there’s no need for a compromise because Google provides a way to convert one website to serve too many countries with different languages. It becomes a website which is both multilingual and multiregional.

Primarily there are three ways of creating a multilingual site:

• Complete Translation of the website to another language

• A separate version of a translated website

• Local Variations of the website

However, this can still pose threat as Google may read the site having duplicate contents. It may sound impossible to have one website for too many users and will be read by Google as different ones. But with Google’s REL=”ALTERNATE” HREFLANG=”X” this is possible. And the newest x-default hreflang attribute is much better since it signals Google that the page doesn’t target any language  or locale.

With this coding system from Google:

hreflang default x

You can have a website for different languages and will not be viewed by Google as duplicate. In this sitemap rel-alternate-hreflang will send signal to Google algorithm that

signal sent to google

There are many ways of targeting a specific country such as through IP address of server, Top-Level Domains, Geotargeting and Localization signals. However, when the contents will be tagged as duplicate by Google, you can’t escape the fact that it may be hit by Panda Updates. So, before things get worse you have to make your mark ups show the REL=”ALTERNATE” HREFLANG=”X” such as this image below:

hreflang x

Duplicate contents truly affect your visibility in Google and it will eventually scrape it out of SERP. Though it is non-intentional, the the algorithm will read only what it can see through your robots.txt file. Without indicating a special case for multilingual websites Google will tag it as duplicate content.

This only means that Google wanted every web owners who are also business men to not limit itself in their areas. It sets a rendezvous point for both the Local SEO, Business, and Consumers even in an international level. True enough Google serves as a best channel and a real arena for business purposes.

Thoughts? Share it below.

Al Gomez

SEO Consultant, Online Marketer & Blogger, Web Developer & DLINKERS Founder.

“Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”