The Google View of Sitemaps, Geo Topics and hreflang Attribute!

Mar 23, 2012 | 2,401 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Google’s Susan Moskwa has posted on her Google+ page, some useful insights on geo-specific information and language based optimization. Read on to know how Google handles certain elements of it.

Q: Can you show some examples of sites using hreflang?

A: Google Play (formerly the Android App Store) and Google Help Centers are among the sites using it. Check out this search, where you see the German listing for the Google Authenticator app being boosted up above the English listing. Or this one, where you see the German Help Center article for installing 2-step verification boosted up above the English one.

Q: Why doesn't Webmaster Tools include the date range of the data being downloaded in its download files?

A: We removed this information from our Search Queries download file because it caused the files to not be in correct CSV format. However, the filenames of our downloads generally include the date range or the date the file was downloaded (whichever is more applicable to the particular feature or data you're downloading).

Q: If I have URLs in my Sitemap that are rel="alternate" hreflang="x" equivalents of each other, will the number of indexed Sitemap URLs shown in Webmaster Tools include all of those URLs, or just one per hreflang "cluster?"

A: As you saw in the examples above, if you've marked up your pages with hreflang markup and we boost a more relevant regional URL up, both URLs still appear in our search results right now (i.e. both are indexed). As such, we count both in your Sitemaps' indexed URL count.

However, if we detect that some URLs in your Sitemap are duplicates of each other, e.g. www.example.com and www.example.com/index.html, we only record 1 indexed URL for that group of URLs because we only show one of them in our search results (we don't show the exact duplicates).

Q: Why are my Geo Sitemaps throwing errors in Webmaster Tools?

A: Google has retired support for the Geo Sitemaps format. You can continue to submit your Geo content to us using the standard Sitemaps format (just listing the URL of the file(s), without -specific tags).”

These questions were asked from her at the SMX West, and she shared them on Google+.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail The Google View of Sitemaps, Geo Topics and hreflang Attribute!
4.thumbnail The Google View of Sitemaps, Geo Topics and hreflang Attribute!