HREFLang Builder is relatively simple to get set up and use if you organize your project and follow these steps below:
Step 1 – Give the project a name
Please add a descriptive name for your project. Typically the name of the company or the domain of the site. If you will have multiple projects name them logically so you know which is which in your project list.
Step 2 – Determine/Select Import Source
This tells us what type of files we are importing. Review this document for more information on understanding URL Source options
Step 3 – Define the Country/Language Format of your URL’s
Select from the list which format matches the majority of the URLs for each country. Review this document for more information on understanding language/country setting options Note if you have multiple formats see our help section on Multiple URL Formats
Step 4 – Set or Skip URL Checking & User Agent
The default setting is to NOT check URLs. If you enable URL checking, HRFLang Builder will request each URL in the system to do a set of diagnostic checks on it. Please review our “Should I validate” guide to determine if you should use this feature or not and the settings necessary on your site for it to work.
Select the desired User-Agent for us to use in crawling. This is necessary if you enabled any of the checking options above. The default is HREFLang Builder.
Step 5 – Force Lower Case
Sometimes source files for sites have URL’s in both upper and lower case in one country and the other case in another. This option forces all URLs, no matter how we receive them, into lower case guaranteeing a match across countries and ensuring only one version is submitted.
Warning: If you use uppercase letters in your URL’s for product ID’s or categories you MUST leave this option off or it will convert then to lower case potentially breaking the URL.
Step 6 – Add Last Update Element
Selecting this option will add the server date for the page to the last update element allowing you to use this file as a standard XML site map as well. [How]
Step 7 – Enable Canonical Checking
This option is on by default and will check the page to see if there is a rel=canonical tag on the page and confirm it points to this page.
You can uncheck this option and we will not check for canonical mismatches. This can result in a significant number of errors in your XML site maps.
If you use this feature and it finds a mismatch it will show an error report code of CAN or 301 CAN.
Step 8 – Enable Robots checking
This option is on by default and will check to ensure the page does not have a noindex robots tag.
Step 9 – Set Site Map File Size
This option allows you to set the size of the exported XML site map. The default option is 10,000 URL’s which we find is optimal. but you can change to 50,000 which is the maximum allowed by search engines.
Step 10 – Set HREF XML Server Location
This is where you will upload the XML files. We use this to create a master index file that lists the individual country XML site maps.
Step 11 – Add any URL’s to Ignore
Add any URL’s to Ignore – use this option to add any URL’s not to add from alternative home pages to privacy statements etc which often get added to XML site maps during the crawl.
Step 12 – Set URL’s to Include in XML
You only need to set HREFLang Elements if there is a similar URL for another country. For example, if you have a product that is only sold in the US and no other country has one there will be no matching country URL. We can exclude these single URL’s from the final export or we can add them. The default is to add all URL’s but you can choose to add only those with at least 1 other match.