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For each URL on my site, I'm auto-redirecting according to header accept language. The site arch is

English version: http://mydomain.com/page
Spanish version http://es.mydomaina.com/page
etc..

The english version is displayed unless I'm seeing a specific language other than en and that I support in the header, and then a redirect occurs.

Google says this:

For language/country selectors or auto-redirecting homepages, you should add an annotation for the hreflang value "x-default" as well:

My pages aren't language selectors, nor are they the homepage. But I am auto-redirecting.

My question is, should my english version be hreflang="x-default" or/and hrefland="en"?

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What if I'm using a Spanish-language browser (maybe in an Internet cafe in Spain?) but I want to read your pages in English? Is there some link I can click, or am I SOL? (Ps. One reason I'm asking this is that I think the answer may affect the hreflang markup you should use.) –  Ilmari Karonen Jan 10 at 2:54

3 Answers 3

I believe your English version should be hreflang="en x-default"

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You should avoid auto-redirection if you want all of your languages to be well indexed by Googlebot.

  • Googlebot never sends an "Accept-Language" header, so it will only get the default language and not be able to crawl the others.

Auto-redirection is also bad for users:

  • Many users get English browsers because they come pre-installed or are the default download. Those users may not speak English very well at all and would prefer other content.

Instead you should show a message to visitors (in the auto-detected language) that says something like:

This page is also available in English. Click Here to view this page in English.

For more information see: How should I structure my URLs for both SEO and localization?

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I have links to all other languages in the footer for Googlebot to be able to reach these pages without sending an Accept-Language. I am aware of the guidelines to avoid redirect, but feel it is providing for value for my users. You didn't comment on the x-default, so I have it? –  Noam Nov 11 '13 at 8:11

In Google's guidlines they say

Avoid automatic redirection based on the user’s perceived language. These redirections could prevent users (and search engines) from viewing all the versions of your site.

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192?hl=en&ref_topic=2370587

But then they do say auto-redirecting homepages like you mentioned. Which slighty contradicts this. Perhaps they only want you to redirect home pages?

Personally I would raise this question in Google Forums to get a straight answer, due to Google's somewhat conflicting guidlines.

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