• http://www.seofosho.com/ Andrew Isidoro

    Very interesting idea. Would be interested to see how (or indeed if) this could be executed in practice though.

  • https://twitter.com/olegko Oleg Korneitchouk

    According to Google
    you should not use canonical links when setting up a multilingual site –
    only hreflang.

    However, in my experience, this didn’t give as much ranking power to the
    non-original versions of the site. Are you recommending the new domains
    set a canonical to the original site or vice versa?

  • http://www.facebook.com/federico.riva Federico Riva

    No advantages.

  • Andrea Moro

    You have spent too much time on the hreflang tag but you haven’t propably spent the same amount on the canonical one, and some of your assertion leave me with some doubts on the validity of your suggestion (perhaps because not supported by a clear example). However, analysing your suggestion I believe your idea will generate a sort of internal loop with possible unexpected results.
    The Hreflang tag is supposed to help Google serve the correct language or regional URL. To make this working, webmasters should communicate all the URLs including the self referencing one. Although I noticed the latter to not be really necessary to keep everything working, google guidelines still mark this as necessary.At the time Google bot will pass through the page, it will read all the URLs to later provide the relevant URLS according to the regional engine queried at the time.So canonical tag is not part of the process at all and perhaps it is even useless.
    So let’s go back to your US domain.
    Your content is completely duplicate – according to your explanation – and as far as I understood the entire set of products is merchandised regardless the country.
    So here we go, all duplicate pages will included the hreflang tagging each other according to the guideline. What it will make the difference is the canonical tag. So here we go, three scenarios:
    1) US page to canonicalize the UK site.As soon as your US page will include the canonical tag toward the UK you will be saying to the bot that the US page is a duplicate copy and that you want the UK one to be returned.
    This will be ok for the UK version, but what will happen to the US or the AU version? The latter will feature in the AU results because of the hreflang, the US will suddenly disappear even from google.com favouring the UK version.
    2) UK version to canonicalize the US siteUK site has no power, the Hreglang will ensure the proper version to be returned but within the UK searches you are suggesting the US site to return.So you are not effectively promoting your UK site, but the old trusted one.What’s the point?
    3) UK to canonicalize the US, and US to canonicalize the UK.This will generate a loop with inconsistencies and also what about the AU site? This cannot be part of this insane process, so something is missing here.
    In the end, and just to recap, the canonical designates the version of content that gets indexed and returned to users. By implementing a roundtrip like the one I have picked up from your explanation your canonical + hreflang won’t make your sites discoverable in the new market faster as you said.
    Now, I’m keen to read any more deeper experiments you may have done, because it may be possible I didn’t completely understood your methodology, hence my conclusion are not accurate either.

  • http://twitter.com/sharithurow sharithurow

    Hey commenters-

    I attended this session at SMX. I understand where Andy is coming from…his context.

    Did any of you attend the session? If you did not, it might not be so easy to understand Andy’s context. If you did? I just cannot tell, based on what you wrote. Please pardon my ignorance.

    it goes without saying (as Andy has taught me many times over) that UK English is considerably different than Australian English and US English. There are a number of strong signals, stronger than hreflang, that he did not include in this article but certainly did include in his SMX presentation.

  • http://twitter.com/dsottimano David Sottimano


    Not discrediting you Andy, but the illustration is a bit confusing plus it’s already a complex topic. That’s why I think Andrea might be confusing examples here.

    1) Whichever site(s) is canonicalized to another target, they are gone from the index. When hreflang is used alongside the canonical, it allows the preferred version of your country / region targeted URL to fire at search time. This means although the canonical tag has removed 2 of the sites (UK & AU, US is the canonical target), users will get to the right page in the appropriate country specific search result. Example: A brand keyword search would normally show the homepage of the US site, but with hreflang + canonical, the Australian URL will be shown on Google.com.au with the US homepage’s title + meta description. This will work for all 3 countries.

    2) You want the .co.uk to be returned in the UK, while .com in the US. The implementation with the canonical should ensure there’s only 1 version for PageRank but different pages for user experience. Don’t see the problem here?

    3) This is where I think the 2nd chart is misleading. There shouldn’t be cross canonicals, you’re right.

    @Andy I get your point, and I’m 100% with you. The only thing I would be worried about is launching the new dupe sites with the canonical tag, and then reversing it once I’ve started to build up the UK & AU sites. I’m much more comfortable with using subfolders on the main domain (/uk/, /au/), canonicalizing those, and then 301 redirecting to the appropriate .co.uk, .com.au when I’m ready. Canonical tags can be disastrous sometimes :S

  • Andrea Moro

    Hi David,

    by implementing canonicalization + hreflang, in the end is not helping to launch a site into new market.

    Hreflang on its own will suffice as it will ensure the proper URL to return.
    On the contrary, canonicalizing the URL to the US site, you will loose the benefit to serve the “regional” version of your tags, which may be slightly different and more in line with your local market.

    So again, what’s the point?

    As you got the point, I think we can further discuss about it? Should we do an hangout at a certain point this week so other users can be involved too?
    I’m always open to new learning opportunities.

  • Andrea Moro

    Would be interesting if you can share your thoughts in deep as something is missing at this stage.

  • http://twitter.com/Macmodi Modesto Siotos

    I’d like to comment on the first slide (Using Canonical Tags To Migrate Sites Prior To Launching 301s) as I think Andrea and David have sufficiently covered the hreflang and canonical complexities.

    I can’t really see many benefits adding cross-domain canonicals from the old (strong) site to the new (weak) one. That means that as long as the two sites remain live the old, established one will lose its rankings, whilst I wouldn’t expect the new site to gain all the link equity of the old one and receive the same amount of traffic.

    Why not just leaving the new site live for a while but without any canonical tags and say something like says “Business A (old site) will soon become Business B (new site)” ?

  • http://twitter.com/dsottimano David Sottimano

    I hear you – this is a complicated subject and I think I’m even getting confused at this point. I would love to discuss this further, and maybe we should try and get many test examples live and invite Pierre Far to join in. dsottimano on Twitter, look forward to hearing from you.

  • Egan Rao

    If there hangouts confirmed, please send me an invitation.. I’m really thinking of a strategy to go into US and AU market with over12k product pages with contents currently focusing UK market.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryKayLofurno Mary Kay Lofurno

    Hi Andy,

    I, like Shari was at your International seminar the day before and the session with you and Maile Ohye. Its an interesting idea, did you run it by Maile? What was her feedback?