Google's John Mueller often posts detailed and thoughtful responses on Reddit related to SEO and also general gadget tinkering. In one of his latest SEO posts, he posted a very detailed and throughout post on when, where and how to go about using hreflang on your site.
Hreflang is super complex and John wants you to make sure there is even a problem that can be solved by hreflang even before you start to implement it. Here is what John said in the Reddit thread:
In an idea world, you'd link all versions of all pages with hreflang. It would be the clean approach, however, sometimes it's just a ton of work, and maintaining it if the sites are run individually is ... good luck with that.
In practice, you can simplify the problem. Where do you *actually* see issues with regards to people coming to the wrong country / language site? That's where you should minimally implement hreflang (and, of course, a JS country/language recognizer / popupper to catch any direct visits). Probably a lot of that will be limited to same-language / different-country situations, so Switzerland / Germany in German may be the right place to start. Nothing breaks if you set up hreflang for 2 versions and have 4 unrelated versions.
If you already have these sites running, I'd check your analytics setup for traffic from Search, and compare the country where they come from vs the country that they end up on (pick one country, filter for the traffic from search, and compare the domains they end up on)....
Read Full Story: https://www.seroundtable.com/using-hreflang-34127.html
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