(Note: there are more href lang errors in the Indonesian language (sl=id), but that's because not all English pages have been translated yet in Indonesian).
2) In search results, when searching in The Netherlands in Google.nl for 'bali holiday villa', the website comes up on page 2 of search results in the English language, with other websites in English language coming before our website. I would expect Google would show our website in Dutch. If that would work as expected, it might also make the website score higher than it does now? Or is this caused by the English testimonials?
CS Cart help desk says everything has been configured OK regarding href lang and that they cannot say anything about the indexing by Google.
What are we doing wrong or should we do different? :-(
My guess is that Big-G is seeing the language selector and it is not set to 'rel="nofollow"'. Hence it is following that link and that causes the URL to become lksjdf/sl=nl or whatever. That's the disadvantage of having most of the selectors in cs-cart as anchor tags rather than select tags.
I've not confirmed the above, but that scenario would describe what you're seeing.
Why don't you use separate directories for each language? So /en /nl , etc
In google webmaster you can target each language as a separate website this way. IE you can target /de for German, /nl for Dutch, /en for UK or global, etc. This way your search results will rank higher in the correct languages.
This makes it more clear for the visitor and search engines like it better. To do this set "show language in url" to on.
Also when testing in google make sure you use a clean browser because google will show pages you visit regularly on top. So use an incognito windows in chrome, for example.
If that's really better I could do that, but the consequences will be pretty big (wish I had known this at the beginning :-( )?
Because all the url's will change, I will have to:
- check all all the internal links
- construct a new sitemap
- correct robots.txt
- notify websites that are deeplinking to our website
Maybe other important consequences that I am forgetting?
For some time all the links in the search engines will result in a 404 which could be hurting?
Sorry for all these questions: we know a lot about villas in Bali, but much less about CS Cart and the workings of search engines like Google...
I think they weren't included in the old sitemap either (https://www.homepage.com/?sl=id etc.). Maybe that's why Google never found the homepage other than in English when searching in a different language from English.
If so, then that looks like a serious shortcoming of the Google Sitemap Addon or at least something one should know when setting up in more than one language...?