HREFLang Management for Regional Sites

We first wote about HREFLang and Regional Site Management last year when we saw a number of incorrect implementations around Asia Pacific.  We have had a rash of questions as our HREFLang Checker is flagging this as a possible warning to ensure that you have not set this incorrectly.   

In a perfect world, a site would have unique local language content for each market they target.  For those in the real world, they often lump similar language regions into the same site.  The most common are South and Central America wraped into a single Spansh language "LATAM site and and Asia covered by a English language "APAC" site. 

Since these are in Spanish and English they are often duplicates of another single market site.  As they can be perceived as duplicates by search engines we need to integrate them into our HREFLang strategy. 

Option 1 -  Regional Site set for Single Market

PRO: 

Eliminates the potential of duplicate content

CON:

Search engines will assign this site to the single local market and you may not get exposure in other countries in the region.

With this option, you would just make the regional site equal to a country in the region and add it to the rest of the local market tags or HREFLang Site Map. 

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-VN" href="http://www.samplesite.com/apac/" />

Option 2 - Regional Site Set For Multiple Local Markets 

PRO: 

Eliminates the potential of duplicate content & does not isolate the regional site to a single market

CON:

Additional effort to maintain

Increased text in HTML page unless you manage with XML site map

A great example of this implementation is Outbrain.  They have a single site for Latin America and the Caribbean region.  They also have a /es Spanish langauge site that they are reserving for Spain.  They have mapped each of the countries they want to target in the area to the regional page.  

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-AR" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-BO" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-CL" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-CO" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-CR" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-CU" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-DO" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-EC" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-GT" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-HN" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-HT" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-MX" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-NI" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-PA" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-PE" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-PR" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-PY" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-SV" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-US" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-UY" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

    <link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-VE" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

 

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-LA" href="http://www.outbrain.com/es_la">

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