I've got an international ecommerce site that geotargets using the following hreflang tags:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/product/" hreflang="en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/product/" hreflang="x-default" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/us/product/" hreflang="en-ca" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/us/product/" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/product/" hreflang="en-au" />

Google Webmaster tools tells me that its successfully parsing the hreflang tags without any issues, however what I've found is that Google is only returning /us/product/ results - even when searching on Google Australia!

Is there any reason for this? I understand that hreflang tags are "a signal, not a directive" but is there anything I can do to help fix this? Any other gotchas or things I should look into to ensure that Google at least attempts to show /products/ instead of /us/products/ to Australian searchers?

  • Do you have redirected setup based on ip address? you might be redirecting the google bot so that it only sees the /us/products page ( I have seen this happen before) – PaddyD Aug 26 '15 at 10:12
  • When searching google.au are you actually in Australia or in North America? – Andrew Lott Aug 26 '15 at 10:18
  • this setting is down to the browser's language setting, not down to the country you are in or the google address being used. Most browsers will default to US English for English. Checking location would be better than preferred language. Australians in American would pobably want American results, not Australian ones. – Mousey Aug 26 '15 at 13:31

Tom, You need to re-read Google's Href Lang page. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en

Href lang tags are used for the pages with the SAME CONTENT but different languages. If you have different products for different countries, then Href Lang tags are not a solution for your problem (possible solutions include different pages or different folders).

I suspect that Google parsed your tags correctly, meaning, your HTML code is syntactically correct. But your tags make no sense.

Additionally, the presence of the "/us/" folder is a signal to Google that the page is for US users. It doesn't make sense to point Canadian users there.


| improve this answer | |
  • The tags make sense to me. American English & Australian English use different words/spellings, so it's not so odd. – Andrew Lott Aug 26 '15 at 10:19

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