Google Improves Multilingual Support With Markup

Dec 6, 2011 • 8:48 am | comments (4) by | 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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