I have this very peculiar problem. I have a multilingual website (2 languages). So for example English version is example.co.uk and French version is example.co.uk/fr/.

No my goal is to make FRENCH version appear in English google, English user but who can speak French and are looking for results in french. For example they go to google.co.uk, their browser is set to English, their windows is in English but they enter FRENCH keywords.

So far the only thing I was able to achieve is if I enter French keywords it shows just English version of the website and NOT French. If I enter the same French keywords and add work "French" or fr or /fr/ then obviously I can get google to display French version.

My question is: how to tackle this problem? I can see many examples where if I enter french words in English google I see French version of the website (those who have French versions).

So things I have: * Two separate sitemap.xml for each language indexed and submitted to google webmasters. * appropriate href language tags in * Appropriate HTML tag attributes for language.

1 Answer 1


The correct code should be:

<link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com/page-name" hreflang="fr-gb" />

hreflang="fr-gb" tells Google that the language of the page is French (fr) targeted for users in Great Britain (gb)

Read more: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en

  • Thanks. I did exactly as you've described and google still shows the English version when I enter French keywords. I think google just prefers using root domain example.com rather than example.com/fr. I have run out of options and literally have no idea what is wrong.
    – Cluendo
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 15:20
  • Do you know for sure that you've tested this on uses in the UK who have French set as their default browser language? A lot of the French speaking people in the UK might still have English set as the default. Have you also tested this on google.fr? Google.com might try to default to the English speaking version. - You can choose to use subdomains like fr.example.com to target language. Wikipedia uses subdomains for languages and if it works for them then I believe it's a strong strategy.
    – Michael d
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 15:25

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