Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Micah Fisher-Kirshner on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 14, 2014).

Would implementing of HREFLANG allow sites to auto-translate and then allow them to still be shown to Google?

Surprisingly, I don`t see this specified anywhere on the web, so I think it`s something we could directly answer for the community:

Auto-translation = generally bad and should be noindexed/blocked.

Question: Would implementing of HREFLANG allow sites to auto-translate and then allow them to still be shown to Google or should they still be noindexed/blocked from Google?

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Micah Fisher-Kirshner: Surprisingly, I don't see this specified anywhere on the web, so I think it's something we could directly answer for the community:

    Auto-translation = generally bad and should be noindexed/blocked.

    Question: Would implementing of HREFLANG allow sites to auto-translate and then allow them to still be shown to Google or should they still be noindexed/blocked from Google?
  • Edwin Jonk: So you basically want to ask Googlebot to use an alternate page (hreflang) and then you say don't show that page (noindex)?
  • Tony McCreath: From memory I think + ;recommends using canonical for duplicate or auto translated pages.
  • Edwin Jonk: Tony, going with Micah's argument: You ask Google to show the alternate URL (hreflang) and then you say use this other (original) URL (canonical)?
  • Edwin Jonk: + ;knows the answer?
  • Micah Fisher-Kirshner: +: Well couple of questions can come from this that we could help answer:
    1) Does the use of HREFLANG mean the allowance of having auto-translated pages be indexable?
    2) If not, will the bot be confused as the original page is indexable, but the 'same' auto-translated pages are noindexed, and thus they should use a canonical tag back to the other country's one?
    3) To complicate matters further: How would Panda play into all of this (if at all)?

    +: If you can find that vid, that'd be helpful to have here.

    International SEO is so much fun. :)
  • Christopher Semturs: Hreflang does not make an auto-translation more valuable. Please avoid it.
  • Edwin Jonk: 1. No, Google will never allow automated content generation.
    2. Yes. Unless you use Google Translate or something else that is popular Google will be confused. Because Google is always confused when something is auto-translate. But they will catch up.
    3. If auto-translation is a part of Panda, then yes.

    I think you should make question 2a and 2b, because the canonical tag is a different question. With using the canonical tag on auto-generated translations pages and using the alternate on the original (canonical) version, you would send Google into circles. And normally if Googlebot is going into circles it is going to hurt you. Besides that I don' t know.
  • Micah Fisher-Kirshner: + Agree on avoiding. What of sites that already have it? Does that help make it less harmful? How to handle that plus HREFLANG implementation for consistency (given the confusion people have already with canonical tag + noindex tag).
  • Edwin Jonk: Thank you Christopher.
  • Edwin Jonk: + ;just to be clear. You are saying don't use hreflang on auto-generated translations?
  • Tony McCreath: I could not find the video I recall, however in the process it seems all advice says noindex or block via robots.txt. e.g.





    And here they specifically dropped advice for the use of canonical (not autotranslate specific):

    
  • Edwin Jonk: From the expert panel in this weeks SEO Questions hangout on air on 02:14:48 into the YouTube video: +

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View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, August 14, 2014).

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