4

Under my Google Search Console I'm receiving a 'es' - no return tags (sitemaps) error for:

  • Originating URL: /en/about-us/testimonials
  • Alternate URL: /es/about-us/testimonials

And I have my sitemap XML file setup like the following:

<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>

However, should I also be including the following hreflang="en" in my sitemap XML file to avoid this issue?

<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
1

Yes, you need to include both languages for each entry in the sitemap: the url you are specifying in the loc item and every alternate language version of the page.

Also the hreflang="x-default" is used only for auto-redirecting homepages or selectors, so in your case it seems that both pages have a specific language: en and es, it should be written with hreflang="en" instead of x-default like this:

<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
<url>
  <loc>https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials</loc>
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.example.com/en/about-us/testimonials" />
  <xhtml:link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/about-us/testimonials" />
  <lastmod>2016-07-11T00:00:00Z</lastmod>
  <priority>0.8</priority>
</url>
  • Ok, thank you...I thought for x-default I had to include this in my Sitemap XML so Google knows to use this page as the default page for all other languages that I don't have translations for? So for example, if I didn't have French listed in my Sitemap XML it would show French users my x-default link in the Google France search engine? – olimits7 Jul 13 '16 at 18:00
  • @olimits7 x-default is used when the page doesn’t target a specific language or locale, so it would be helpful if you have a generic https://www.example.com/. In this case you have the content in two languages, if you enter a query search in English, in Google France, it would return the English version of the web page. – marcanuy Jul 13 '16 at 20:13
  • Ok, my website doesn't have a generic example.com , if you type that in to my site you get redirected to example.com/en ; so this is my default site. So should I change x-default to en in my Sitemap XML? Or should I add another line in my Sitemap XML pointing to the same URL for both x-default and en? Ty. – olimits7 Jul 13 '16 at 20:17
  • I would just change the x-default for en, not using x-default. Then send the sitemap to webmaster tools to verify it. – marcanuy Jul 13 '16 at 20:29

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