Google's John Mueller On Where To Start With Hreflang

Feb 21, 2020 - 7:31 am 1 by

Globe Google

John Mueller from Google posted a mindful and useful response on Reddit mostly around where to start with hreflang. He said "It's easy to dig into endless pits of complexity with hreflang." "My recommendation would be first to limit the number of pages you create to those that are absolutely critical & valuable," he added.

After you go through that thought process, then he said "focus first on pages where you're seeing wrong-language traffic."

So it doesn't always make sense to simply deploy hreflang everywhere because it might be easier to not think about it. "Sometimes the balance between "save effort by thinking" and "just do it everywhere" is not that straightforward to determine," John Mueller said.

Here is his full response:

You definitely shouldn't block / disallow these in robots.txt -- if they're disallowed from crawling, we wouldn't be able to canonicalize them at all, or see any of the metadata on them.

It's easy to dig into endless pits of complexity with hreflang. "Let's create all languages! Let's make pages for all countries! What if someone in Japan wants to read it in Swahili? Let's make even more pages!" My guess is most of these "pages created because you can" get very little traffic, add very little value, and they add a significant overhead (crawling, indexing, canonicalization, ranking, maintenance, hreflang, structured data, etc.).

My recommendation would be first to limit the number of pages you create to those that are absolutely critical & valuable -- maybe that already cuts the pages you're thinking about. Think big here; if you're talking about individual pages within a medium-sized site, it's probably a non-issue. On the other hand, if you're considering copying your whole site into 20 languages x 10 countries, that's something else.

Past that, for hreflang, I'd focus first on pages where you're seeing wrong-language traffic -- often these are pages that get a lot of global, branded queries, where it's hard to determine which language content they want. A search for "google" can match a lot of language pages, hreflang can help to differentiate. On the other hand, a search for "search engine" is pretty clear & matches pages where you write about "search engine" already, so pages like that don't need as much help being language-targeted. That said, sometimes the balance between "save effort by thinking" and "just do it everywhere" is not that straightforward to determine :).

Forum discussion at Reddit.

 

Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community

Follow

Search Video Recaps

 
Google Core Update Flux, AdSense Ad Intent, California Link Tax & More - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Link Building

Google: Ignore Link Spam Especially To 404 Pages

Apr 23, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: We Have Taken Action On Some Parasite SEO In Recent Update

Apr 23, 2024 - 7:41 am
Bing Search

Mikhail Parakhin Breaks Silence On Mustafa Suleyman Of Microsoft (Kinda...)

Apr 23, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google Maps

Google Business Profiles Gains Select Preferred Menu Source

Apr 23, 2024 - 7:21 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: Crawl Budget Goes Across All Googlebot Crawling, Not Just Web Search

Apr 23, 2024 - 7:11 am
Blog Administration

Programming Note: Offline For Passover

Apr 22, 2024 - 4:05 pm
Previous Story: Google Maps Removed 4 Million Fake Business & 75 Million Local Reviews