Weekly SEO news: 6 December 2016
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Here are the latest website promotion and Internet marketing tips for you.

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How to work with multi-regional and multilingual sites

If your website serves multiple languages and countries, it can be difficult to make sure that Google and other search engines index your web pages correctly. There are several ways to handle international content.

international SEO

1. Use local domains for each language

A very good way to serve international content is to use country specific domains. For example, use yourcompany.com for the USA, yourcompany.de for Germany, yourcompany.fr for France, etc.

If you have a .de domain, it will be much easier to get high rankings on German search engines. In addition, a German website with German content is very easy to understand for website visitors and search engines.

It is much less confusing than a website that contains English, German, Spanish and other content.

2. Let your visitors choose which language they want to see

Another way to present international content is to let your website visitors choose the appropriate version. Your homepage contains a country and language selector to let users choose their favorite version.

After the selection, the user should be redirected to a web page that has a unique URL, i.e. each language version should use unique URLs.

If you use this method, it is important that your web pages use the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation for the country selector page, which was specifically created for these kinds of pages.

In general, this method is more confusing than the first method. It's easier to make mistakes that can lead to problems with search engines.

3. Redirect visitors automatically

Instead of letting your website visitors choose, you can also redirect them based on their location and their language settings. You can do this with 302 redirects or by dynamically serving the right HTML content.

This method also requires the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation and you must also make sure that the language pages have individual URLs.

Automatic redirects can be annoying. For example, if a person from the US is on vacation in Europe, it is not good if the US version cannot be accessed. It's also easy to make mistakes that can lead to indexing problems if you use this method.

Regardless of the method that you use to present your international content, you should make sure that all pages have rel-alternate-hreflang annotations.

In addition, all pages must be accessible for Googlebot (you can test this with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler). Visitors should also be able to visit different language versions of your website.

Getting high rankings for international websites is even more difficult than getting high rankings for regular websites. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now to find out how to improve the Google rankings of your web pages:

Try SEOprofiler now

2. Internet marketing news of the week

BingGoogle and Bing increase Sitemaps sizes

"For years, the sitemaps protocol defined at www.sitemaps.org stated that each sitemap file (or each sitemap index file) may contain no more than 50,000 URLs and must not be larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes). [...]

We are increasing sitemaps file and index size from 10 MB to 50MB (52,428,800 bytes). Webmasters can still compress their Sitemap files using gzip to reduce file size based on the bandwidth requirement; however, each sitemap file once uncompressed must still be no larger than 50MB."

Editor's note: Google's announcement can be found here.

Google: the Meta NoIndex tag doesn't save your Google crawl budget

"Google's John Mueller confirmed that using the meta noindex tag on your site will not help you save your crawl budget. [...]

The only way for Google to know there is a noindex tag on the page is to spend their crawl budget crawling the page to find the tag on the page. [...] The meta tag only prevents the page from being indexed, not crawled."

Related: The canonical tag also does not save crawl budget.

GoogleGoogle Mobile Friendly Test Tool allows you to submit pages to Google's index

"Google has added the ability to submit a page to Google's index directly from the new version of their mobile-friendly testing tool, which is at search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly.

Jeremy Waszak notified me of this change on Twitter yesterday and I confirmed, it indeed does submit any page, not just your own, to the Google index. This is in addition to using the Fetch as Google to submit your pages, you can use this tool to submit any page to the Google Index."

Editor's note: You can submit any website to Google here. Submitting your site to Google has no influence on the rankings of a website on Google. In general, it is not necessary to submit pages to Google as Google finds new web pages through links on other pages.

+++ SEARCH +++ ENGINE +++ NEWS +++ TICKER +++

  • Wired: Google’s hand-fed AI now gives answers, not just search results.
  • Google recommends page load time below 2-3 seconds.
  • Google launches the Santa tracker.
  • New features may be coming to AdWords Responsive Ads.
  • How Google is tackling fake news, and why it should not do it alone.
  • Google: feature-phones are no longer supported.
  • Google indexing of Twitter appears to be declining.

3. Previous articles