Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Martin McGuire on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, July 5, 2018).

I`m looking to figure out what to do with hreflang tags

hreflang tag question.

Hey guys, so I`m looking to figure out what to do with hreflang tags for a client. The client currently targets a number of countries; Ireland, UK, France and 2 others. I`m using sample URLs here to illustrate the issue.

When a user types in the URL the site is automatically directed to the regional URL. E.g. "www.domain.com/ie-en/mens-shoes/" or "www.domain.com/uk-en/mens-shoes/"

My question is how do I structure the hreflang tags correctly in this instance?

This is what I was thinking... (obviously including the canonical too)

https://www.domain.com/ie-en/mens-shoes/" hreflang="en-IE" />

https://www.domain.com/uk-en/mens-shoes/" hreflang="en-GB" />

I can see their developer just added them like this

.......which I think is wrong, not sure at this stage??

NOTE: the main domain is missing, he`s only added the subfolders and the order of rel="alternate" is the other way round

SEMRush is saying these have been implemented incorrectly. Could anyone advise on this? I should also note that Search Console isn`t reporting any errors.

I just want to make sure everything is in place correctly


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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Francois-Pierre Marcil: 1) Absolute links is the way to go (I think this is what SEMRush is detecting) for both rel canonical and hreflang. 2) code ordering should be ok. I prefer the "standard" order because it makes the code easier to read for me the SEO.
  • Martin McGuire: On the same note of international targeting, the hreflang tag battle has been a long one to try and get them to do it. I`ve been monitoring their rankings for the past few months, and the "uk-en" version of the URL has been outranking the "ie-en" version in Ireland. Its strange that UK URL would rank better in Ireland?
  • Francois-Pierre Marcil: Maybe something of value here: https://searchengineland.com/4-hreflang-tag-errors-google... But would need to look at the specifics to know more.
  • Richard Hearne: Probably best to use absolute URLs. You could also consider putting HREFLANG into XML sitemaps, especially if your site is very large. Another thing to do here - use geotargeting functions inside GSC if you haven`t already. You can target the /en-ie/ folder to Ireland etc. One reason UK pages are probably appearing in IE is that most browser users in IE don`t set their language prefs to en-ie. Geotargeting should help you here though.
  • Martin McGuire: That makes perfect sense!!!
  • Martin McGuire: Thanks guys!
  • Bill Hunt: Silly question but do those local pages exist? There are so.e that clone on the fly and they are not actual pages.What happens when Google hits the page? They get it or redirected? If that is case HREFLang is worthless. If they are not redirected then like others use absolut urls. Google has said they accept relative. If the site is older then some pages may not be indexed which is why HREFLang may not be working.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, July 5, 2018).

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