Ever since I’ve created my English website and blog, I’ve noticed that whenever I search for my name on Google, I can see only my Romanian website, not the newly created English one.
Initially, I thought it is a time problem and eventually it will appear since I’ve set it up on Search Console and everything looked ok. But yesterday it has been over a month since I’ve indexed and still won’t work.
I checked the canonical tag to be sure it is not set to the Romanian site and it wasn’t. But then I also noticed a strange behavior: searching my name in incognito showed the English website, searching in a normal browser showed my Romanian one. So it was clear to me that something was telling Google “Hey, this is in Romanian and only index it in Romania, this is English, can be indexed internationally”.
And indeed I’ve missed the alternate tag in the source.
Since I am using WPML to have multiple languages using the same WordPress installation, that is what is writing those tags there and tells search engines that for the same website there is an alternative version in another language.
Thankfully though, it can easily be turned off if you do not want this behavior: go to WPML > Languages and turn off/untick “Display alternative languages in the HEAD section.“
After one day of turning this off, my international website appeared for Romanian users too and vice-versa.
For me, this is the behavior I want, for you though you might want to index the way WPML does it by default: each language on its own search engine country.