• http://www.iloveseo.net Gianluca Fiorelli

    Related to hreflang=”x-default”: you can use as x-default also an URL that you are also specifically geotargeting.
    For instance, let’s say the http://www.domain.com/ is geotargeting USA and http://www.domain.com/en-gb/ is geotargeting UK. You don’t have to create a third /all-the-rest-of-word-and-languages/ subfolder in order to have its URL as x-default, but you can choose to use the US or UK one.
    Hence, the code would look like this:

  • Colin Guidi

    Great article John, and extensive.

    My only question is why would you recommend a JavaScript redirect for redirecting users to geo-specific content, since bots still really can’t execute JavaScript.

  • http://ignitevisibility.com/ John E Lincoln

    Hi Colin,

    When it comes to this type of redirect we are more talking about user experience. Keep in mind, that redirecting based on location is tricky and not everyone does it. You want your websites usability to be sounds and allow people to find the right area without redirects. When it comes to redirects, that is on a site by site basis and that decision is up to the website owner. Here are some threads on it. I added the javascript redirect because Google allows it.


  • http://twitter.com/rdeede Richard Deede

    I am going to have to disagree that using subdomains or subdirectories should be used for targeting different regions over using a ccTLD.

    Taken from Google directly – “Use top-level domains: To help us serve the most
    appropriate version of a document, use top-level domains whenever
    possible to handle country-specific content. We’re more likely to know
    that http://www.example.de contains Germany-focused content, for instance, than http://www.example.com/de or http://de.example.com.”


    Although, I would recommend that using a subdomain is the proper choice when targeting different languages within the same region. (ie. French speakers in Canada). http://fr.site.ca

  • http://twitter.com/johnelincoln John E Lincoln

    Hi Richard,

    Tough call huh? I have actually done it all three ways. When I had all TLDs the whole thing felt like a mess (it was a huge client and we had many TLDs). When I had subdomains, it felt like it targeted language more than region and when i had directories it felt just right. But i have to say, I agree with your point on TLDs and search. But I would probably only use them if i had a limited amount of regions… Every project is different so I would create the strategy around the goals of that client… Either way thanks for the comment, a good point.

  • http://twitter.com/johnelincoln John E Lincoln

    Richard made a pretty good point below about TLDs… Here is what you want to consider.

    Argument for current site
    Adding a new section to your website will allow you to transfer authority and rank quicker, potentially. This would be the result of the optimization you have done for the current website over the years.

    Argument for new domain

    Creating a new domain specific to the region will be a clear indicator to Google that you are targeting that area which is positive. But you will need optimization and to build a whole new site.


    Consider what your long term strategy is. Will this eventually be a global website? Or will it just be a few countries?

    I would need to look at your current site and understand the business better before making this decision. Also, it is a question of resources…

  • Saeed Sheikh

    great article. i am impressed. you have given extensive clarity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxjpeters Maximilian James Peters

    That video by Matt Cutts completely contradicts what is on their Webmaster Content guidelines:

    “Avoid automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language. These redirections could prevent users (and search engines) from viewing all the versions of your site.


  • Louk van Kalmthout

    thanks for this great article! It helped a lot understanding multilingual SEO.
    However, I’m still not completely sure which method I should use for our company website. I run an motion design agency, based In the Netherlands. Our website is based on WordPress. Currently I use the qTranslate plugin for the Dutch and English versions. Which creates urls like /?lang=en. I also own the ccTLD .nl and the gTLDs .net and .eu. (At the moment .net and .eu are just forwarded to the .nl domain.

    My goal is to have a Dutch and a global website that both rank well.
    The Dutch is most important for us, because the majority of our clients is currently dutch. The global version needs to rank good as well, because we want to focus more on the international market. the global website is not targeting a specific language or location, just global for everybody that might be interested.

    Currently the English version of the website might have a negative Impact on the Dutch and vice versa.

    My idea is to use the .nl for the Dutch and .eu or .net for the global website. Either using 2 separate websites (on the same hosting server)
    Or use the subfolder option and redirect the url to the other TLD or something.

    What would you advise? Can anyone suggest me what the best solution could be.