Monday, December 05, 2011 at 8:07 AMMany websites serve users from around the world. There are different approaches to serving content appropriate to your users' language and/or region. Last year, we launched support for explicit annotations for web pages rendering the same content with different language templates.
Today we're going further with our support for multilingual content with improved handling for these two scenarios:
- Multiregional websites using substantially the same content. Example: English webpages for Australia, Canada and USA, differing only in price
- Multiregional websites using fully translated content, or substantially different monolingual content targeting different regions. Example: a product webpage in German, English and French
Specifying language and locationWe've expanded our support of the rel="alternate" hreflang link element to handle content that is translated or provided for multiple geographic regions. The hreflang attribute can specify the language, optionally the country, and URLs of equivalent content. By specifying these alternate URLs, our goal is to be able to consolidate signals for these pages, and to serve the appropriate URL to users in search. Alternative URLs can be on the same site or on another domain.
Annotating pages as substantially similar content
Update: to simplify implementation, we no longer recommend using rel=canonical.
Example usageTo explain how it works, let’s look at some example URLs:
- http://www.example.com/ - contains the general homepage of a website, in Spanish
- http://es-es.example.com/ - is the version for users in Spain, in Spanish
- http://es-mx.example.com/ - is the version for users in Mexico, in Spanish
- http://en.example.com/ - is the generic English language version
If you specify a regional subtag, we’ll assume that you want to target that region.
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://www.example.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-ES" href="http://es-es.example.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-MX" href="http://es-mx.example.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en.example.com/" />
Keep in mind that all of these annotations are to be used on a per-URL basis. You should take care to use the specific URL, not the homepage, for both of these link elements.