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Not to pick on Xero, but I'm wondering if this is a good example of hreflang & canonical use.

https://www.xero.com/uk/resources/small-business-guides/
https://www.xero.com/nz/resources/small-business-guides/

Note: Both pages are identical.

UK Version (note canonical at the bottom):

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/glossary/" hreflang="x-default" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/au/glossary/" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ca/glossary/" hreflang="en-ca" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/id/glossary/" hreflang="en-id" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ie/glossary/" hreflang="en-ie" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/hk/glossary/" hreflang="en-hk" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/my/glossary/" hreflang="en-my" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/nz/glossary/" hreflang="en-nz" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ph/glossary/" hreflang="en-ph" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/sg/glossary/" hreflang="en-sg" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/uk/glossary/" hreflang="en-gb" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/us/glossary/" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/za/glossary/" hreflang="en-za" />
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.xero.com/uk/glossary/"/>

NZ version (as above):

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/glossary/" hreflang="x-default" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/au/glossary/" hreflang="en-au" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ca/glossary/" hreflang="en-ca" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/id/glossary/" hreflang="en-id" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ie/glossary/" hreflang="en-ie" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/hk/glossary/" hreflang="en-hk" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/my/glossary/" hreflang="en-my" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/nz/glossary/" hreflang="en-nz" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/ph/glossary/" hreflang="en-ph" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/sg/glossary/" hreflang="en-sg" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/uk/glossary/" hreflang="en-gb" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/us/glossary/" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.xero.com/za/glossary/" hreflang="en-za" />
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.xero.com/nz/glossary/"/>

As both pages are identical, should the hreflang be removed and one is identified as canonical?

I note the local page appears in SERP for each.

What does Google say on the matter? Regarding multi-regional websites:

Websites that provide content for different regions and in different languages sometimes create content that is the same or similar but available on different URLs. This is generally not a problem as long as the content is for different users in different countries. While we strongly recommend that you provide unique content for each different group of users, we understand that this may not always be possible for all pages and variations from the start.

Cite: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2010/03/working-with-multi-regional-websites

This statement may seem to resolve the matter, but I've read a lot to suggest the content cannot be identical. Hreflang does not resolve duplicate content (apparently). Variations such as currency and languages (i.e. en-us vs en-uk) make it "similar" but not the same. Plus, how much should I read into their statement, "This is generally not a problem..."?

Quintessentially, for Xero it should...

  1. Have one page containing the guides that local versions of the site link to with canonical reference.
  2. Alternatively, it could have multiple copies on the local sight but one canonical (remove hreflang).
  3. What they have done is correct.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and commentary.

3
  • I found this from Google: "If you provide similar or duplicate content on different URLs in the same language as part of a multi-regional site (for instance, if both example.de/ and example.com/de/ show similar German language content), you should pick a preferred version and use the rel="canonical" element and hreflang tags to make sure that the correct language or regional URL is served to searchers." Cite: developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/… I wish they had an example to use as a guide. – Bainn Apr 12 at 2:28
  • Conversely, this from Moz. "If you have duplicate copies of your pages targeting the same keywords, it does not mean that the right country version will rank because of hreflang. The same rules apply to general SEO; when there are exact or nearly exact duplicates, Google will choose which page to rank. Typically, we see the version with more authority ranking" Cite: moz.com/blog/hreflang-behaviour-insights – Bainn Apr 12 at 4:12
  • Could really use some input on this. – Bainn Apr 12 at 19:03

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