Google Improves Multilingual Support With Markup

Dec 6, 2011 • 8:48 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google multilingualGoogle announced better support for webmasters to communicate their multilingual content to Google with a new link element markup.

Googler, Pierre Far, said on Google +:

Do you work with multiregional or multilingual websites? Whether you use the same content on all sites (with minor differences, say localized pricing) or you fully translate your content, you can now annotate pages to help us consolidate the signals of such pages and also help us show the correct regional page to users in search.

Here is how it works:

Imagine you have an English language page hosted at, with a Spanish alternative at You can indicate to Google that the Spanish URL is the Spanish-language equivalent of the English page in one of two ways:

  • HTML link element. In the HTML section of, add a link element pointing to the Spanish version of that webpage at, like this:
    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="" />
  • HTTP header. If you publish non-HTML files (like PDFs), you can use an HTTP header to indicate a different language version of a URL:
    Link: <>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="es"
If you have multiple language versions of a URL, each language page in the set must use rel="alternate" hreflang="x" to identify the other language versions. For example, if your site provides content in French, English, and Spanish, the Spanish version must include a rel="alternate" hreflang="x" link to both the English and the French versions, and the English and French versions must each include a similar link pointing to each other and to the Spanish site.

Forum discussion at Google +.

Image credit: Globe icon from ShutterStock.

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12/07/2011 12:21 am

Too late Google! I use those link relationships since 2001!


12/07/2011 02:35 am

we also translate our website into many versions. like: what should we do like this? by the way, is this dangerous?


12/07/2011 08:45 am

That looks fine. Just annotate each of the pages with link-rel-alternate, e.g. on

John Britsios

01/24/2012 10:27 pm

I had to laugh when I read the title of Google's Blog post: "New markup for multilingual content" I use that technique since 2001, and I posted that markup bit and advice at the forums WebProWorld back in October 2006. A member there and blogger picked up my post and wrote a blog on that here So is that called now "New Markup"? LOL

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