Google, Yandex Now Support New "x-default hreflang" Annotation

Google, Yandex introduces new rel-alternate-hreflang annotation to help specify multinational and multilingual websites. Google adds nonprofits information to Knowledge Graph. Matt Cutts, don't buy spammy domain.

New x-default hreflang for international landing pages is now availble to webmasters of multinational and multilingual websites to easily target users around the world.

"The new x-default hreflang attribute value signals to our algorithms that this page doesn't target any specific language or locale and is the default page when no other page is better suited," Google said.

For example, "it would be the page our algorithms try to show French-speaking searchers worldwide or English-speaking searchers on google.ca," explains Google.

google and yandex announces new x-default hreflang for international landing pages

The annotation also applies to homepages that dynamically alter their contents based on a user's perceived geolocation or the Accept-Language headers. "The x-default hreflang value signals to our algorithms that such a page doesn't target a specific language or locale."

The new new rel-alternate-hreflang annotation that the webmaster can use to specify such homepages that is supported by both Google and Yandex.

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.

Below is a quick look at the existing way of targeting as well as the new x-hreflang:

Until now, webmasters would target users the following way:

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

But, this cluster of pages can now be annotated using rel-alternate-hreflang using Sitemaps or using HTML link tags like this:

<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"/>

Update: Google adds information about nonprofits to the Knowledge Graph search experience. Now, when you search for a nonprofit organization on Google.com, "you will start to see information to the right side of the search results that highlights the nonprofit's financials, cause, and recent Google+ posts," informs Google.

You can also start following the organization on Google+ directly "from the panel by clicking the Follow button."

And, to learn more about related nonprofits, "click on one of the organizations under "People also search for" and a carousel of similar organizations will appear at the top of the search results," Google adds.

nonprofits information now on Google Knowledge Graph

Upate 04/11: In a new video posted today, Cutts, fielded a question "Can I buy a domain name on the secondary market that has a lot of spam on it and still rank? How can I reset the SEO of that domain ? Thousands of root domains coming from spam."

"Don't be a sucker and research any domain name you may buy for spam issues," Cutts answered.

He said he would probably not buy the domain name, explaining he says "there are many spammers out there that spam and burn the domain name into the ground, and then when it is caught, they try to sell it on a forum to get a little bit more out of the site."

Cutts adds, that there can be two penalties: a "manual," which you can fix the spam and submit a reconsideration request. "Manual spam also has a time out, where the penalty will auto-expire if the spam is cleaned up." And, the second, is an "algorithmic penalty," in this case you need to wait until the algorithm picks up on the changes.

Update 04/18: In a new video, Cutts said that adding too many pages to a site too quickly may flag the site to be reviewed manually.

Cutts reponding to a question, "A newspaper company wants to add an archive with 200k pages. Should they add it all at once or in steps?" --stated,

Google can handle it either way, adding that if a site released hundreds of thousands of pages overnight, it may raise a red flag and warrant a manual review by the Google spam team. And if you do not want Google to manually review your site and you don't want to draw attention to your site - you may not want to release too many pages too quickly.

Update 04/26: Cutts in this video answered the question "Does linking my two sites together violate the quality guidelines?" that if you had a few sites, part of your network of sites, you can link them together. But, if you link hundreds of unrelated sites together, then it would violate Google's guidelines.

Suppose I have a site that covers fishing overall (A) & I make another fishing site that solely focuses on lure fishing (B). Does linking to A from B violate guidelines? I'll make sure both have high quality content & I disclose that they're both owned by me.