Canonical Tag on multiple countries shop

fravallec
New Member
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Hi Shopify experts,

 

I am an SEO expert and one of my clients is expanding its shop from united kingdom to 5 countries.

 

Talking about canonical links, the developer showed me the example of Huel website (another Shopify store) with every country linking to the main website as in the screenshot below.  This is what we were thinking about doing for my client.

 

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 11.28.18.png

 

Can you guys confirm, through this code, the page to index is uk.huel.com and every different URL point to that direction?

 

Is it a good idea for my client's shop? I am not sure why Huel wants to rank Huel UK rather than the US but I guess because I am in the UK. 

 

Thanks in advance for your support. 

 

Best regards,

 

Francesco

 

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I guess, the canonical has effect only in the internal website. 

 

If your website has outside of the country, please use this one -> https://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-html-language-declarations

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Hi Francesco,

 

I have some framework code in my Shopify SEO guide to implement hreflang.

 

If you have multiple Shopify stores serving different regions, then it is SEO best practice to implement hreflang tags. The caveat to this:

 

The hreflang tag tells Google what version of the page (in this case, from what store) Google should serve to users. The tags are explained more in this guide. Canonicalisation usage for multi-lingual stores across multiple domains, can be managed with manual hreflang and rel="canonical" tags when the URL structure across all websites is the exact same. Usability and SEO problems are painful when one of the stores does not have all of the same pages, products, and collections. hreflang tags will point to non-existent pages to produce 404s.

 

The more impacting part of the problem arises with a change of language in URLs. Part of healthy usability and SEO is keeping URL usage consistent throughout a website. This means not alternating between “http” and “https” or “www” and “non-www” or never linking to mobile versions of the store on the desktop version. In this case, not having English URLs for non-English stores. When non-English URLs are used, canonicalisation management becomes impossible for a store with large SKUs. 404s occur and link juice gets diluted across pages.

Run Google Shopping ads? Get the free definitive guide to Google Shopping for Shopify (no optin required): https://www.digitaldarts.com.au/google-shopping
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And further to your question about Huel's setup with the UK being the default hreflang canonicalization. I agree, it is a bit strange. The only reason I think they would do that is because the UK is their primary market and they want Google to serve it to a wider European audience.

Run Google Shopping ads? Get the free definitive guide to Google Shopping for Shopify (no optin required): https://www.digitaldarts.com.au/google-shopping
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SeanMcEl
New Member
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Hi Josh

I found this thread and as I have a similar situation, I was hoping that you might be able to help me. I think I may initially have misunderstood the purpose of hreflang and confused it with canonicalisation.

We had a multilingual, worldwide website built using Joomla at www.cannyco.com which we have been moving to Shopify, partly to make our checkout processes better (they are much better) and partly to deal with Brexit. But we had to split the site into 4 separate domains in the end:

The first three sites are up and running, the last site is still under construction. The first three are all English only.

I was using hreflang to show which of the different pages (with the same content, pages, menu structure in English) should show up in a search for a particular country but thought that this would also deal with any duplicate copy issues, as I thought I was telling Google that the same content was going to four different places. I have since realised though that with incorrect canonicalisation, I won’t avoid issues of duplicate content.

For example, our website pages and blog articles in English are more or less identical across the 4 sites, such as at this URL: https://www.cannyco.com/pages/what-is-the-canny-collar. The same content is on four sites:

My understanding is that as https://www.cannyco.com/pages/what-is-the-canny-collar is the actual ‘root’ canonical page, that all the other sites should have:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://cannyco.com/pages/what-is-the-canny-collar”>

On that same page in the code.

On the Australian site, the URL https://www.cannyco.com.au/pages/what-is-the-canny-collar currently has:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://cannyco.com.au/pages/what-is-the-canny-collar”>

Which is clearly wrong.


So my first question is, on Shopify, how do we ensure that the correct canonicals are applied to the US & Australian sites?

The site www.cannyco.eu is a little more complex as it has both English and other language content with the following hreflang tags:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang=“en-ie" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang="fr-fr" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang="de-de" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang="nl-nl" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang="es-es" />
<link rel="alternate" href="{{ canonical_url | replace: shop.domain, 'cannyco.eu' }}" hreflang=“it-it" />


So the English content canonicals will be on the UK site www.cannyco.com but the French, German etc canonical content will be on this site www.cannyco.eu

My second question then is how can I ensure that the English content is canonicalised back to www.cannyco.com but that the other language canonicals stay on the same site www.cannyco.eu? 

 

I want to avoid any duplicate content issues but not direct say, US users back to the UK site at www.cannyco.com. I want the US site www.cannyco.us to be optimal for North America and be the site that people are taken to if they search for our main product, the Canny Collar.

Sorry if I haven't explained myself very well, I'm no expert and have been tying myself in knots reading various forums trying to make sense of it all. Thanks for taking the time to read this, any advice more than appreciated. 

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@SeanMcEl Good news for you. As you say, with the EU store having a different language and other content, simply using the canonical tag for hreflang tags will do SEO damage.

You will not be able avoid duplicate content issues unless your hreflang tags are correct.

Last week we released our Multi-Store Hreflang Tags app on the Shopify app store. I believe this answers all your questions and challenges. This is the best way for stores to have hreflang tags spot-on across stores that have different languages and different content. It takes a bit of time to map collections, pages, and blogs as that has to be done by hand. Product-mapping is automated in the app.

Run Google Shopping ads? Get the free definitive guide to Google Shopping for Shopify (no optin required): https://www.digitaldarts.com.au/google-shopping
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SeanMcEl
New Member
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Hi Josh

Thanks for this but the Shopify solution always tends to be ‘buy another app’. We have 4 stores, it’s getting pretty costly. I was hoping for a solution that would be as simple as just adding the correct Hreflang code in each template but thanks anyway.

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