The new international targeting tool recently became available through Google Webmaster tools. This new tool offers site owners and webmaster the ability check alternate language versions of their sites for errors.
International targeting allows site owners to provide visitors with alternate language versions of their websites or pages based on the user’s location, or language preference settings. To do this Google uses two general mechanisms:
- URL-level Targeting
- Site-wide Targeting
With URL-level targeting there are 3 types of implementation that can be used.
- Page Level Mark-up – suggests using tag in thesection of your page. The most important step is that all language versions of the specific pages must refer back to each other. This can also be used when featuring alternate language and country combinations (for example: en-us vs. en-ie.)
- Sitemaps – can be used to submit regional or language alternates of your site. How is this performed? Here is an example provided by Google in there webmaster tools help section:
- Http Headers – this is largely reserved for not html files such as PDFs. An HTTP header can be used to indicate different versions of a URL.
Site-wide targeting allows for the selection of a specific country to be designated as the target of the alternate language version of your site. Whether you use a sub-domain or sub-directory for the alternate language version of your site, you can create a new site in webmaster tools and target a specific region. Don’t forget to upload the language specific sitemap mentioned above!
The process of adding alternate language pages to your site can be a time consuming and intricate process, depending on the amount of languages you offer your content in. There’s no doubt that this new international targeting tool will help webmaster s and site owners identify and fix any issues, saving your company or client time and money.