I recently updated my website to accept to languages, also did some SEO research and used hrelangs tags to tell google which version of my website to show based on the users language to avoid the issue i'm facing right now.

    <link rel="canonical" href="https://example.gr/">
    <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.gr/" hreflang="el-gr">
    <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.gr/" hreflang="el">
    <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.gr/" hreflang="x-default">
    <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.gr/en" hreflang="en">

This is what i have in my headers, but, google displays the english version of my website, why is this happening?


Using URL inspection tool within Search Console displays the canonical as the one i set, but Google hasn't set a canonical yet.

  • 1
    How long ago did you update? You need to give Google a couple months. If it hasn't been that long, you may just need to wait. Google should show both the English and the Greek but to different visitors. When you are testing are testing on google.gr, from Greece, with a web browser configured with Greek Accept-Language headers? Jun 24, 2021 at 9:32
  • @StephenOstermiller It's really confusing, sometimes in the day it gets displayed in Greek and sometimes it gets displayed in English, i also have submitted a sitemap in GSC and read that i should not use canonical URLs in the sitemap and that it might have conflicts with the robot. Honestly, too confusing.
    – Steve
    Jun 24, 2021 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


Google relies on several signals to determine the language of a user. And Google's algorithms like most machine learning algorithms are not always hundred percent correct. For example, browsing history is an important factor. But a user can browse sites in different languages. In such a case, Google determines your language based on its algorithms which can be imperfect due to conflicting signals.

So it is always a good idea to have a language switcher (like a dropdown). Thus a user can navigate to the correct version if Google leads him to another.

  • Understandable and i have already implemented a language switcher, but what bothers me the most is the traffic, a Greek website which ranks first and now displays in English in Google will damage our rankings for sure.
    – Steve
    Jun 24, 2021 at 11:26
  • From Google Analytics (or any other analytics program that you may be using,) can you try to find the percentage of Greek visitors visiting the Greek version and those landing at the English version (from Google Search)?
    – Kannan
    Jun 24, 2021 at 11:38

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