In January 2015, Google began to crawl and understand locale-adaptive pages—URLs with content (language, currency, etc.) that is adapted based on the Accept-Language HTTP request header or the perceived location (IP address). Merkle|RKG’s Technical SEO team has developed a locale-adaptive testing tool to help SEOs and webmasters assess and/or troubleshoot web pages for internationalization.
Senior SEO Technician Max Prin covers the basics of locale-adaptive pages and provides a simple testing tool tutorial in this video from Merkle|RKG. After the video, hop over to SearchEngineWatch.com to read Is Your Site Configured for the International Googlebot? from Senior Search Analyst Ben Goodsell.
Max Prin: Bonjour and welcome. Today, we are going to talk about international SEO and, more specifically, about locale-adaptive pages.
The page is locale-adaptive when, for the same URL, the language is adapted based either on the Accept-Language HTTP request header or on the perceived location, the IP address. Historically, Google was unable to understand locale-adaptive pages as the requests made by Googlebot were coming from U.S.-based IP addresses and did not include an Accept-Language header.
Well, this changed. In January of this year Google announced its new locale-aware crawling configuration. Googlebot can now make requests using international IP addresses and can include Accept-Language headers that's two different languages. This is definitely good news for locale-adaptive pages, as the different variation can now be crawled, indexed, and can rank accordingly in the different language, country-specific versions of Google. It's important to say that Google still recommends to use separate URLs with hreflang annotations.
Now, for locale-adaptive pages, how [do] you as an SEO or webmaster, check if those pages are working properly? Well, you can change the settings of your browser to send different Accept-Language headers, let's say, French instead of English, or you can use a proxy to make the request from outside of the U.S. Or, if you want to save some time, you can use the tool that we developed: a Locale-Adaptive Pages Testing tool.
It's really easy to use. You put the URL in the field, you choose the languages you want to test the page for, and you run the test. You can also choose Googlebot or Bingbot as the user agent and use the proxy feature to make the request from outside of the U.S. The tool will request the page as many times as the number of languages you chose and will compare the source code of each response.
If, for one of the responses, you get a "Yes" in the third column, that means that the source code is different than for the first response. This doesn't mean that the page is translated. So, to make the tool more useful, we have included the page title, the meta description, as well as the H1 for each response. On top of that, we're using a language detection API that will scan the content of the page and return the detected language.
All of this should give you a pretty good idea of whether the page is locale-adaptive or not. That's it. Thank you for listening. Feel free to use the comments to ask questions. We'll be happy to answer them. A bientot!