"hreflang", And Language / Region Based Blog Sets

If you publish a set of blogs in multiple languages, or customised for different geographical regions, you may have concerns about search engine reputation, and / or spurious spam classification.

Blog sets which are legitimately replicated, for either different languages or geographical regions, have been known to be caught in the infamous Blogger spam trap. And blogs which contain duplicated content can be a problem, both in Blogger and in Google Search.

Google provides a tag, which lets you indicate, to Blogger and to the search engines, blogs that are members of a legitimate blog set.

Blogs in sets, which are based on either language or region, can be identified using the "hreflang" tag.

The "hreflang" tag lets you identify legitimate blogs that relate to each other.

This tag will only work with existing blogs - and it will work best with blogs that are intentionally and genuinely related - by either language or geographical region. It won't simply create aliases of an existing blog - but it will let you identify blogs which are related, and which may contain similar material.

The tags are based on codes provided by the International Organization for Standardization - they are not fictitious or imaginative. The URLs of the blogs, in the set, are your choice - the ISO codes, used in the tags, are not your choice.

I could publish an English / French / Spanish set.

If I was multi-lingual (for the record, I'm not), I could publish this blog in English, French, and Spanish.

  • blogging-en.nitecruzr.net ("en" = ISO code for "English")
  • blogging-es.nitecruzr.net ("es" = ISO code for "Spanish")
  • blogging-fr.nitecruzr.net ("fr" = ISO code for "French")

or maybe

  • en.blogging.nitecruzr.net
  • es.blogging.nitecruzr.net
  • fr.blogging.nitecruzr.net

In the template header, for each blog, I would add

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://blogging-en.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://blogging-es.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="http://blogging-fr.nitecruzr.net/" />

or maybe

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://es.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="http://fr.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />

or even

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://es-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="http://fr-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" />

I could publish an Australia / Canada / Great Britain / USA set.

Similarly, if I wanted to publish "Australia", "Canada", "Great Britain", and "USA" regional versions of this blog (all regional dialects of "English"), I might have

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-au" href="http://blogging-au.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="http://blogging-ca.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="http://blogging-gb.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://blogging-us.nitecruzr.net/" />

or maybe

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-au" href="http://au.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="http://ca.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="http://gb.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://us.blogging.nitecruzr.net/" />

or even

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-au" href="http://au-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="http://ca-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="http://gb-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://us-blogging-nitecruzr.blogspot.com/" />

All blogs must be real - and must be maintained as any other blog.

Again, each blog must exist, as referenced - and each blog should be published, in equal activity to the others, for best results. It's similar to getting the best performance for your (gasoline powered) internal combustion engine driven automobile. All cylinders must operate, in the right sequence and timing.

The "hreflang" tag won't create logical aliases - nor will it let you blatantly publish duplicated content, or compensate for blogs with no posting activity. You will need legitimate blogs, with genuinely relevant and unique content - each relevant within itself, and in comparison to the other blogs in the set.

If you are prepared to publish legitimate blogs in a set, however, the "hreflang" tag will let you do that - and it should decrease the possibility of bogus spam classification, and duplicated content penalties. And you have one more way to combine blogs, in clusters.