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In my website the root page https://www.amolelingue.com/ has 301 redirect to canonical English URL https://www.amolelingue.com/en, which has two alternate versions (/it and /fi).

I'm getting following two errors in International Targeting of Search Console of Google Webmaster Tools:

Each of the three pages (/en /it /fi) lists itself as canonical version and also has hreflang-links to all three pages. For example English version has:

<link rel='canonical' href='https://www.amolelingue.com/en'>
<link rel='alternate' href='https://www.amolelingue.com/en' hreflang='en'>
<link rel='alternate' href='https://www.amolelingue.com/it' hreflang='it'>
<link rel='alternate' href='https://www.amolelingue.com/fi' hreflang='fi'>

Nowhere do I mention "/" as canonical URL, so why am I getting errors about it not having return tags? Have I done some error here or is Google Webmaster Tools reporting this incorrectly?

  • I think the problem is 301 redirection, the originating URL said only / means root page or homepage, and that homepage should link back to all alternative URL but it is not possible because of 301 redirection. Have you seen this answer to know what is the meaning of that error. I think you can keep the homepage without redirection and set the canonical link tag to /en page, means only that page will be index. – Goyllo Aug 20 '17 at 12:21
2

Your configuration is incorrect. Rather than permanently redirect the root to https://www.amolelingue.com/en.

Either:

  1. Do a conditional redirect, i.e. test the user's browser language and do a temporary redirect to the appropriate language page, /en, /it or /fi.
  2. Don't redirect the root at all, and have a page on which users can select the version they want.

Then identify the root with "x-default" as follows:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.amolelingue.com/en" hreflang="en">
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.amolelingue.com/it" hreflang="it">
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.amolelingue.com/fi" hreflang="fi">
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.amolelingue.com/" hreflang="x-default">

Google's documentation on hreflang is here, and the relevant part is:

[…] the reserved value "x-default" is used for indicating language selectors/redirectors which are not specific to one language or region, e.g. your homepage showing a clickable map of the world.

  • Google specifically tells that 301 redirect should be used when same page can be reached via different URLs, and one example specifically shows using this for homepage - support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en#4 – Markus Laire Aug 21 '17 at 13:10
  • They do, but that's not what's happening here. – GDav Aug 21 '17 at 13:11
  • That is exactly what I am doing here - the English version has several (two) URLs so it uses 301 redirect - other two languages on the other hand only have single URL. – Markus Laire Aug 21 '17 at 13:15
  • You misunderstand. If it was just a case of example.com and example.com/home/ showing the same content, a 301 would be a valid solution and that's what the page you've referenced is describing. You, however, have three home pages in three different languages. This is a different problem, and that's what I've addressed in my answer. – GDav Aug 21 '17 at 13:23
  • So are you saying that it's just impossible to do what I would like to do - have English version reachable via two URLs and other versions from one URL? – Markus Laire Aug 21 '17 at 13:30

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