An SEO professional asked John Mueller during a hangout about their English homepage version with regards to ranking.
Their main question was: Why would the English homepage version rank higher than another language version of the homepage in a country of that language?
John answered that it’s always hard to say why this would rank higher.
But it definitely can. When it comes to different language versions, if you’re searching for a word or term that is ambiguous regarding its language, then it’s possible that Google will pick one language version or another language version. Also, different country versions, it’s the same thing.
And this is probably primarily true on home pages where, when people are searching for your company name, it’s not necessarily clear that they mean the English language version, the French version, or the German version just based on the query itself.
This is something where sometimes Google would show whatever they think best matches a query.
And this might not be the right language or country version.
John recommends doing two things.
- With hreflang annotations, you can tell Google about the different language and country versions, and then it’s easier for Google to swap these out.
And that means that it’s easier for Google’s systems to actually process and index these pages.
This happens at approximately the 23:08 mark in the video.