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I'm launching translations on a website with the first translation being Brazilian Portuguese. If I use the following hreflang:

<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.example.com/pt-br/" hreflang="pt-br" />

If a user is outside of Brazil and has their browser language set to just Portuguese (Not Portuguese (Brazil)) will Google still serve them the Portuguese version of my pages in search results?

  • How is your site specific to Brazil? Does it use Brazilian specific spellings and phrases? Does it have content meant for Brazil only? Does it have prices in the Brazilian Real? Are there shipping options that are appropriate for only Brazil? – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 12 '16 at 11:05
  • @StephenOstermiller - The translation specifically is Brazilian Portuguese, we have an office in Brazil with contacts and support for our customers. Our products and services are the same across the globe..it's not an ecommerce site. – brandozz Nov 14 '16 at 14:19
  • Google does say that if you use hreflang and target regions specifically but don't provide a fallback to a default language, they will try to server up the best result for that user. – brandozz Nov 14 '16 at 14:22
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if your site with hreflang="pt-BR" has brazilian specific content, which is clearly crawlable, like delivery issues, specific brazilian contacts, prices only for brazilian users, then yes, it would be shown to brazilian users.

But if has no signs to be useful specifically to brazilian users, then there are big chances it would be shown to all users with portuguese language.

Google should have real causes to maintain a site in index, which is specific to a specific country.

  • What I'm curious about is while using pt-br in hreflang...will users outside of Brazil that speak Portuguese get the Portuguese translation? – brandozz Nov 14 '16 at 14:21
  • If you want it shown outside Brazil, I would play it safe and just use "pt" as the lang instead of "pt-BR" – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 14 '16 at 14:27
  • I think you might be right...I don't feel comfortable sitting back and hoping that Google will return the correct result. – brandozz Nov 14 '16 at 14:37
  • @StephenOstermiller What if I duplicated the pt-br site, named it just pt and defined that as my default for that language? so I would have two hreflangs pt-br and pt. Thoughts? – brandozz Nov 14 '16 at 15:45
  • I've done something like that before and it has worked well. We had a worldwide English site and a en-UK site that enjoyed fabulous rankings in the UK. Even better than our en site in the US. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 14 '16 at 15:49

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