I have a UK site which is translated into Brazilian, i.e. Portuguese (Brazilian) speakers in the UK. Whats the correct hreflang tag for this?


In theory, we are looking at pt-br-GB...

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-br-GB" href="https://example.com/gb/pt-br" />

But I guess it's probably the following, and then you just set the language headers for each 'pt' + 'pt-BR'. Portuguese (Brazilian) + Portuguese (Portugal).

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-GB" href="https://example.com/gb/pt" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-GB" href="https://example.com/gb/pt-br" />
  • Why are you trying to put two countries into the locale? Portuguese speakers in the UK are not in Brazil anymore. – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 8 '17 at 14:57
  • How would /gb/pt and /gb/pt-br differ? – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 8 '17 at 15:03
  • /gb/pt would be for Portuguese speakers from Portugal in the UK, and /gb/pt-br would be for Portuguese speakers from Brazil in the UK. The languages are slightly different. – alexmcfarlane Aug 8 '17 at 15:09
  • * The languages are slightly different, I think. – alexmcfarlane Aug 8 '17 at 15:09

Unfortunately, the hreflang standard does not specify regional varieties of languages. You can target by language, or by language and region, but that should be enough to target most users accurately.

In your case, given that you have one page for Portuguese language (since there's no Brazilian as such) and they reside in the UK, you can use the following:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/gb/pt" hreflang="pt-GB" />

Just don't forget to format a tag for your other pages in alternate language(s), and include the full set of tags on the different versions of each page.

  • Would you suggest I use both the following? and then use the correct lang tags on each page? I still have "Brazilian" and Portuguese sites separate on the website. <link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-GB" href="example.com/gb/pt" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-GB" href="example.com/gb/pt-br" /> – alexmcfarlane Aug 9 '17 at 7:57
  • That would be my recommendation, yes. This is a somewhat difficult case, because to draw a parallel, look at American English vs British English. You can specify America or England as country, but only English as language. You may have to differentiate between the two versions with other signals to help search engines understand the difference. (Structured data, the copy in your HTML headings and paragraphs, internal link anchor text, etc.) – Henry Visotski Aug 9 '17 at 14:26

To achieve what you are after all you need is to specify the language and the country for which your content has been designed for.

So, for your Portuguese users in Brazil, you will be having the following permutation "pt-BR"; if the content is addressed to Portuguese users in the UK, you will then have a "pt-GB" as you have correctly guessed.

<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/gb/br" hreflang="pt-BR" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/gb/pt" hreflang="pt-GB" />

By using the language-country pattern, in several permutations, will allow allow you to cover pretty much everything you need.

Please, bear in mind the way you structure your URLs is totally unrelated to your Hreflang settings, and these can differ from the proposed samples. So long the URLs and the chosen taxonomy make sense to your users, the hreflang setting will do the rest for the SEs.

  • Hi Andrea, thanks for this, but I think this is incorrect. This would target Portuguese (Brazilian dialect) in Brazil, for the gb/br URL. Where I want to target Portuguese (Brazilian dialect) in the UK. Which is closer to pt-GB. But this isn't fully correct as it's not the Brazilian specific dialect of Portuguese. I want Brazilians to search in the UK, not in Brazil (which is what I think your solution produces). – alexmcfarlane Aug 25 '17 at 16:16

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