On a frequent basis, Google holds Q&A-style questions where webmasters can ask questions pertaining to Google Search, such as SEO, site speed, indexing, and the like.
The session that is the source of today’s question is the English Google SEO office-hours from September 24, 2021. This session, as most of the current sessions are, was hosted by Search Advocate John Mueller.
At the 21:21 mark, a participant gave a description of his site’s situation. He said that he has an established multi-language site that gets organic traffic from Google.
His concern, as I understand, was that he wanted to take precautions to prevent any technical errors as his site opens up to Spanish speakers in the US. He wanted to ask for John’s advice.
John started his response by confirming that he was on the right track: “Okay, so I think the things that you mentioned, they sound great, so that seems like a good approach.”
“Using a banner like that means that Google will still be able to index all of these pages, but you can guide users to the appropriate one a little bit faster. If [conversely] you were to do it on the server-side, for example, with a redirect, then the problem could be that Googlebot never sees the other version because it always gets redirected, and the banner is kind of like a backup plan where, usually hreflang will help (maybe geotargeting is set up) but the banner is kind of like, ‘Well, we can’t guarantee that only the right users go to these pages so we will catch them and then help them to find the right ones.’”