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Targeting the global community with local content

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Servage

The world we live in today has transformed in to a global village with internet being the primary mode of connection. The information we put up on our web sites is visible to everyone and anyone who has an a computer and an internet connection so it has become ever so important that the content we put up is for everyone around the world; thus we need to use different languages.

Having a multilingual website is not a new concept but the browsers and the search engines both depend on the structured data and to make correct mark up for website with different languages use, rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”

This element gives local version content to your users who need the content of the page in the alternate language.

This is supports Google Index and Google recommends that this tag is to be used in situations where the website has translated alternate versions – multilingual websites or when a single language website targets different regions – multiregional websites.

Multilingual websites are the one which offer content in more than one language like an English business with separate sites of same contents for both Spanish and French versions.

Multiregional websites in which the content specifically targets users of a different country or a region.

So in order to use rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”; just put this element in the website if it contains content in a different language where x being the language you want it to be translated in.

Suppose we have a web site http://www. Mywebsite.com and another language website is http://www. Mywebsite.com/fr/. To show that the French URL is the French language equivalent to the English page either introduce an HTML Link Element <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”fr” href=” http://www. Mywebsite.com/fr />  or  if there is no HTML content add a link Link: < http://www. Mywebsite.com/fr > rel=”alternate”; hreflang=”fr”

Google gave us guidelines on how to plan what to do here, and essentially you would add something like the following code to the <head> of all pages of all of the websites:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”http://www.example.com/page.html” /> <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-gb” href=”http://en-gb.example.com/page.html” /> <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”http://en-us.example.com/page.html” /> <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”http://de.example.com/seite.html” />

Example taken from Google’s rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” guidelines (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=189077&topic=2370587&ctx=topic)

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