Connecting Oncrawl + HREFLang Builder to solve tough SEO indexing issues

June 17, 2020 - 4  min reading time - by Rebecca Berbel
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If you have different languages on your websites and are looking to scale your international SEO results, you may have already looked at ways to make sure each version of your site is complete, and that the right version turns up for each market when people search for your brand, your services or your products.

Because this is such a critical step to successful visibility for international players, Oncrawl has teamed up with HREFLang Builder to make sure all of the versions of your site are correctly indexed and displayed in search engine results.

Indexing and visibility issues in international search

Getting the right version of a page to the right market in an online search context can be a challenge.

Two technical solutions can make a major impact on success:

  • Hreflang declarations: proactively tell search engine which page to show to which market by matching translations or localizations, and identifying the target audience
  • XML sitemaps: ensure that search engines have the complete list of pages that should be indexed and available to searchers

Implement hreflang declarations and expand poor quality or missing XML sitemaps

One of the advantages of declaring all translated and localized versions of a URL in a sitemap is that it provides a single place to check and make sure that each page that should have multiple versions, does.

Submitting these sitemaps to search engines ensures that search engines are aware of all of your pages.

Avoid CMS roadblocks that prevent you from generating sitemaps for multiple languages

While many CSMs offer hreflang implementation options, there are many reasons you might want to do this outside of your CMS.

Notably, not all CMSs will allow you to generate multiple XML sitemaps, or use multiple languages for the same country.

Find missing products on international sites

When a site is localized or translated, and particularly as it’s catalog evolves, it’s common that some products that should also be offered to secondary markets are overlooked.

Comparing lists of URLs in sitemaps and lists of URLs crawled allows you to verify the product offering available on each version of your site.

Show the right country page in search results for each market

Analyzing hreflang declarations can help you understand why existing product pages aren’t being shown in the correct localization, the correct translation, or are just being excluded from search results.

When the wrong country page is shown in search results, it attracts fewer visitors and frustrates customers.

Scale and simplify the process across a portfolio of sites

When each site in a portfolio of international sites is independent, keeping hreflang declarations up to date can be a hassle.

How the Oncrawl + HREFLang Builder connection works

The real challenges in building an HREFLang XML sitemap is obtaining all URLs and mapping the alternative URLs to each other.

HREFLang Builder automatically generates XML sitemaps with appropriate hreflang declarations. Its impact, therefore, depends on having access to a complete list of URLs of the international, localized, and translated site (or sites).

HREFLang Builder uses Oncrawl’s API to retrieve a high quality and extensive list of links and URLs. It takes advantage of Oncrawl’s use of existing XML sitemaps, its integration with sources such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or Google Search Console and its ability to ingest data from other sources, such as lists of product URLs per targeted market, in order to analyze a website.

This means that Oncrawl’s analysis is often the best way to answer the question of “how many URLs does my site have, and what are they?”

Through the Oncrawl API, the Oncrawl connector allows you to export all URLs discovered directly into HREFLang Builder for a seamless connection between the tools.

Mapping algorithms connect the different URLs, even when scaled to an enterprise website or a constellation of websites of a multinational group.

ChallengeOther toolsOncrawl + HREFLang Builder
Obtaining a complete list of URLsLimited
Single source
Qualitative and extensive
Sources: existing XML sitemaps, website crawl, Analytics and GSC data, 3rd party lists
Connecting alternative URLs (mapping)ManualAutomatic
Connecting alternative lists to mapping toolManual upload
Manual assembly in the case of multiple files
Flexible API connection and automatic processing

Why partner with HREFLang Builder?

HREFLang Builder – developed by Back Azimuth – is a scalable tool for rapidly mapping and deploying search engine compliant hreflang XML sitemaps to designate the various alternative language and country versions of your site.

It has been recognized internationally as an innovative SEO tool:

  • Best SEO Tool (2018 EU Search Awards)
  • Best Software Innovation (MENA search awards 2019)

It can be used to map, manage, monitor and store the XML sitemaps representing your alternate language pages. Paired with Oncrawl, it offers cost-effective solutions to major issues on international sites.

Both SMBs and enterprise companies need reliable search solutions. Combining Oncrawl and HREFLang Builder prioritizes both scalability and the ability to manage SEO costs, while maintaining exacting standards for performance–and for results in organic search.

Advantages for Oncrawl users with international sites

Oncrawl users enjoy 10% off on their HREFLang Builder subscription with the coupon code ONCRAWL10

Rebecca Berbel See all their articles
Rebecca is the Product Marketing Manager at Oncrawl. Fascinated by NLP and machine models of language in particular, and by systems and how they work in general, Rebecca is never at a loss for technical SEO subjects to get excited about. She believes in evangelizing tech and using data to understand website performance on search engines. She regularly writes articles for the Oncrawl blog.
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