Google introduces – “x-default hreflang” for international landing pages

Google announced  the introduction of the all new rel- alternate-hreflang annotation called “x-default hreflang,” for the wwebmasters to specifically notify the international landing pages. According to Google “the homepages of multinational and multilingual websites are sometimes configured to point visitors to localized pages, either via redirects or by changing the content to reflect the user’s language.” Google Webmaster Trends analyst Pierre Far, further adds “today we’ll introduce a new rel-alternate-hreflang annotation that the webmaster can use to specify such homepages that is supported by both Google and Yandex.”
Now, let see how this works:

  • http://example.com/en-gb: For English-speaking users in the UK
  • http://example.com/en-us: For English-speaking users in the USA
  • http://example.com/en-au: For English-speaking users in Australia
  • http://example.com/: The homepage shows users a country selector and is the default page for users worldwide

The code you would use on these pages include:

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

The new x defalult hreflang points signals to the already existing algorithms that doesn’t target any specific language or locality per say. The new annotation duly applies to the homepages that generally differ their contents based on the end user’s perceived geological location or the accepted language choice.

“For example, it would be the page our algorithms try to show French-speaking searchers worldwide or English-speaking searchers on google.ca.”
On the whole, an interesting annotation for the web masters that would help them create algorithms that would not specify any specific language or locale.