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I'm managing a website that has a US section and a UK & International section. Let's say these are divided as:

  • website.com/
  • website.com/us

The website has hreflang implemented correctly as follows:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.website.com/us/" hreflang="en-US" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.website.com/" hreflang="en-GB" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://www.website.com/" hreflang="x-default" />

My questions are as follows:

  1. Is it absolutely OK to have 2 annotations (en-GB and x-default) for the same page? Does Google have an official recommendation on this? And is there a chance / situation where this could become problematic?

  2. If the webmaster were to remove the en-GB annotation and just use x-default for all English versions other than en-US, would that adversely affect visibility and rankings in the UK?

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  1. Yes you can use the same URL for multiple locations, John Muller from Google replied in the comments to a similar question here: How should I approach sitemap.xml, hreflang and regions for my website

    Yes, you can use the same URL for multiple locations.

  2. Not sure on the correct answer for this one.

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  1. It depends on how strong the competitors in the UK are. If Google finds enough trusted sources in the UK (or UK-specific pages, eg international websites with a /en-GB/ section and the proper hreflang annotation), chances are that this could affect your visibility in the UK negatively. However, if your site is the most trusted source for your topic, it might still rank well when there is no specific UK hreflang annotation.
  • Thanks for the reply @Gianna. Is this based on your personal experience or has there been any official communication from Google about the hreflang counting as a ranking signal in this respect? To clarify, if they had a UK server, then would that still matter? – FarhadD Jul 14 '15 at 9:51
  • While hreflang as such is not a ranking signal, it sure helps Google understand what your target market is. My reply was based on personal experience. – tentakellady Jul 14 '15 at 11:01

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