On the official Google blog, Google’s Gary Illyes and Zineb Ait Bahajji gave information on how to handle international content. If your website serves multiple languages and countries, there are several things that you can do to make sure that Google indexes your web pages correctly.
Variation 1: use international domains and show the same content to all
A good way to serve international content is to use country specific domains: example.com, example.de, example.fr, etc.
Each country and language has its own domain and the content on these website is the same for all visitors who access the domains in their browsers.
You can show a banner on the pages to suggest more appropriate versions to users from other locations. For example, Amazon.com shows a banner for Amazon.de if you access the site from Germany.
Variation 2: let users choose which local version and which language they want
Another way to present international content is to let your website visitors choose the appropriate version. In this case, your homepage contains a country and language selector to let users choose their favorite version.
After the selection, the user should be redirected to a web page that has a unique URL, i.e. each language version should use unique URLs.
If you use this method, it is important that your web pages the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation for the country selector page, which was specifically created for these kinds of pages.
Variation 3: automatically redirect users
It is also possible to redirect your website visitors depending on their location and language settings. You can do this with 302 redirects or by dynamically serving the right HTML content.
This method also requires the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation and you also must make sure that the language pages have individual URLs.
Things that you should consider
Regardless of the method that you use to present your international content, you should make sure that:
- all pages have rel-alternate-hreflang annotations
- all pages are accessible for Googlebot (you can test this with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler).
- users can switch local versions and language
Of course, the steps above alone do not guarantee that your web pages will get high rankings. You must still make sure that your pages have good content and good inbound links. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to get both:
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