Google Adds A New Webmaster Annotation For Multilingual & Multinational Sites

Google-Webmaster-toolsGoogle’s Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst, announced on the Google Webmaster Central blog a new annotation designed to help communicate redirects and languages to Google for multilingual and multinational web sites.

The annotation is designed to work with homepages of multinational and multilingual sites that are configured to point users to localized pages, either via redirects or by changing the content to reflect the user’s language. When this happens, you can now communicate to Google of this action through the new rel-alternate-hreflang annotation.

The rel-alternate-hreflang annotation is markup you can add to your Sitemaps or using HTML link tags in your source code that will communicate these redirect or language changes to Googlebot.

Both Google and Yandex (a popular Russian search engine) support this new tag.

How does it work? For example sites that target these languages or countries by these URLs:

  • For English-speaking users in the UK
  • For English-speaking users in the USA
  • For English-speaking users in Australia
  • The homepage shows users a country selector and is the default page for users worldwide

For those URLs, you’d implement these annotations:

<link rel="alternate" href=""
 hreflang="en-gb" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" 
hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" 
hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="" 
hreflang="x-default" />

For more details on how this works, see the announcement post.

Related Stories:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Per Pettersson

    Thanks for the neverending reports and explanations :-) Always up to date with Search Engine Land.

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