HREFLang Management for Regional Sites
May 1, 2018
HREFlang Error Pointing to Same URL for Each Reference
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HREFLang Fix Results in 58% Increase in Local Traffic


Business Need:

A Client approached Back Azimuth with the problem that they were not ranking well AND not getting much traffic from their local markets. It was assumed that duplicate content or lack of indexation might be a problem. They put an interesting constraint on the project to not significantly cannibalize US and Global Site Traffic.

Project Goals:

1) Increase pages indexed in local markets
2) Increase organic search traffic to local markets
3) Ensure local page is ranking in local markets


Back Azimuth reviewed the 45 countries and found that most of the XML site maps were missing or outdated. New XML files were created for each country and loaded into HREFLang Builder. Using the Index Checker functionality found that globally 74% of the pages were not indexed in some cases over 90% were not indexed.


Since the implementation in March, all three business problems were solved and even stayed within the cannibalization constraints.

Local Market Traffic IncreaseAll markets experienced at least a 20% increase in organic traffic a 75% global increase.

The 8 critical markets collectively had a 58% increase. All markets had an increase with the least of 21% (due to getting a large share already) up to 99% for South Africa and 86% for Australia. This was over a 3 month period.

As a result of increased indexing, there was no traffic cannibalization with both the global and US site traffic increasing 22% and 48% respectively.

Local Site Index Rates – All markets experienced a significant increase in the number pages indexed and in total from only 26% to 98% indexed.