You’ve probably heard about hreflang tags if you have a website that is multilingual or want to make your website bilingual.
In a nutshell, hreflang tags are crucial for:
reach out to potential clients abroad.
Based on a visitor’s location and desired language, the appropriate material is served to them.
For your website, develop a solid global search engine optimization (SEO) plan.
Offer a positive user experience on websites with several languages.
The hreflang tag’s idea on its own isn’t that challenging to comprehend. However, correctly adding hreflang tags to your website can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t know how to accomplish it. Take it straight from Google.
But don’t worry. In this article, we’ll go over some hreflang SEO recommended practices as well as how to steer clear of common mistakes when adding hreflang tags to your website.
For a completely translated website with automatically added hreflang tags, join up for a free trial of Weglot if you’re looking for a tool to deploy your hreflang tags.
How do hreflang tags work?
A hreflang tag is an HTML property that search engines employ to recognize the language of a specific web page and the location for which it was designed.
The hreflang tag is a programming language element used to indicate that a page should be displayed to users in a specific country or language.
Marketing analysts must be in constant connection with niche markets, especially when working for companies that want to reach other countries, this includes knowing global markets.
And, in terms of digital marketing, the Hreflang Tag is a fundamental aspect of this type of strategy.
If you still don’t know what this tag is or what exactly it’s for, don’t worry.
We prepared this post intending to explain everything, we invite you to read it to the end so that you understand what it is about, apply our advice, and have more results from this label. Take advantage of reading!
What is the Hreflang Label?
Introduced by Google in December 2011, the hreflang attribute allows you to show search engines the relationship between web pages in alternative languages.
That is, it is very useful when you create specific content for a local audience.
The Hreflang tag sends a signal to search engines the moment a user queries in a certain language and expects to find results in that language instead of a page with similar content in another language.
For example, if you create an English version of your homepage originally made in Spanish, you’ll need to mark it as “English” using the hreflang = “en”.
This way, people who have an IP address whose search mechanism has reason to believe they are in an English-speaking country discover your page in English instead of Spanish.
This can decrease your rejection rate and increase your conversions, ensuring that your target audience reaches the most suitable version of your page.
Hreflang can also be used to show that you have content geared toward single-language variants.
If that’s your case, you can segment your pages even further, specifically by extending the hreflang attribute with annotations that indicate which region the localized content is for.
For example, for Spain, the hreflang is “es-es”, while for Mexico it is “es-MX”. This is particularly useful for geographically segmenting users and for controlling variations in currency, freight, zones, and culture.
Of course, other SEO factors can replace the hreflang attribute and make a different version of your page rank higher.
To provide search mechanisms with the clearest possible signals about the language in which pages should be displayed and in which language, check if you are using other best practices for international SEO, which we will talk about later.
How does the Hreflang tag work?
Now that you know what the Hreflang tag is, let’s see how it works.
Where can it be inside?
Hreflang tags can be placed in the page markup, in the HTTP header, or in the sitemap. Use only one of these places.
If you choose the sitemap, the Hreflang Sitemap Tool can help.
How to identify the Tag Hreflang?
It must be referenced on all pages. If your site sells products to customers in the US, UK, Japan, or Argentina, the hreflang attributes on your homepage may look like this:
- <link rel = “alternate” href = “https://daravision.net/medica” hreflang = “en-us” />
- <link rel = “alternate” href = “https:// daravision.net/jp/” hreflang = “jp-jp” />
- <link rel = “alternate” href = “https:// daravision.net/es/” hreflang = “es-ar” />
If you identify other aspects of your site’s content (such as currencies, local addresses, and phone numbers, for example) the likelihood of dealing with restrictions of this type will be lower.
ISSO language and region codes
Despite this, not all codes are intuitive (for example, the code for South Africa is “za”). So you must be careful not to use the wrong code, and in this, The Hreflang Generator Tool can help you.
You can use multiple halflings tags on a page if you want to show that it’s for users in more than one country or area.
For example, if your Page segments people who speak Spanish in Colombia or Mexico, you can indicate this as follows:
- <link rel = “alternate” href = “https://daravision.net/medica ” hreflang = “es-co” />
- <link rel = “alternate” href = “https://daravision.net/medica ” hreflang = “en-us” />
Also, be sure to include a general hreflang attribute with no region code to capture Spanish-speaking search engines in Chile or other areas of the world from which you want traffic:
<link rel = “alternate” href = “https://daravision.net/medica ” hreflang = “cl” />
General segmentation with pattern X
If your page displays content in multiple languages or simply prompts a user to select it, you can use the x-default to show that the page isn’t specifically targeted.
This would be as follows:
<link rel = “alternate” href = “https://daravision.net/medica ” hreflang = “x-default” />
How does the Hreflang Label act in web positioning?
Even though the Hreflang Tag doesn’t directly help increase traffic, it can deliver the right content to the right users.
This tag helps search engines change the correct version of the page for the SERP based on the localization and language preferences of each visitor to your site.
Does my website need a Hreflang Tag?
This resource is useful, mainly, for companies that are looking to enter and grow in other countries and seek to know how to do it with digital marketing.
After all, unlike the canonical tag, Google can identify the original and missing versions of the contents, since the Hreflang Tag can show Google the differences between language-based pages to differentiate them in a search.
How to implement the Tag Hreflang?
To apply the Hreflang Tag, it is necessary, first of all, to check if all the translated pages of your site have the tag within the HTML code.
After that verification, try to place the acronym of the language for which the translation was made, such as “es-es” in the case of Spanish from Spain or “en-UK” for English from England, for example.
Entering the Default Tag is also important so that the contents are shown to all people who do a search and who do not have a language specification on the computer with which they perform the search in Google.
To do that, simply place the URL of the page and indicate for which language or country you want to generate the code, and then place it inside the tag.
If your site or blog is in WordPress, it already has a tool called Hreflangs Tags Lite with which you can create and add the tag on a page or publication.
If you do not understand programming and prefer a simpler version to place the tag on HTML pages of your site or blog, you can resort to The Hreflangs Generator Tool which generates a line of code with the tag that should be included in the HTML of your pages, mainly those that require international attention.
So, the main goal of the tag isn’t to increase your site’s traffic but to make the content reach the right audience, once Google eliminates confusion by indicating the right version of the content.
This makes a huge difference in the classification of content, because the pages of your site become relevant calculated by the algorithm, according to the way they are seen by users.
So if your company has reached other markets outside the country, hreflang tags can help you make the content appear for that audience in the right way, especially since it is allied to good international SEO practices.
Let’s talk about it now!
What is the relationship between Hreflang etiquette and International SEO?
The first impression we have when we think about International SEO is to think about how to lead a website to impact the public of other countries.
We leave this last topic to make an important point: the internationalization of a site is not only about translating it into another language.
It is also necessary to understand issues that are of global relevance, in addition to analyzing the competition that acts in each market.
And, when we talk about doing it through SEO, there are three ways to do it:
through a Hreflang tag (as you saw in this post);
- the URL used in the domain;
- the content made for the target audience according to their location and language.
If the contents of the site are only translations, this makes them relevant for the target audience of another country, since other aspects such as culture, economy, and behaviors must be considered.
For that reason, it is necessary to compose another strategy when the objective is international reach.
The URL is another important factor for this adaptation, as this is what will allow Google to understand the country and language of a site.
That way, a URL can have a country code, subdomain, or top-level domain subdirectory (ccTLD):
- ccTLD: URLs that have a country ID after the mark. For example, Dominio. mx;
- subdomain: the region indicator comes before the mark, such as mx.dominio.com;
- subdirectory: region indicated at another level. For example, domain/mx.
As you can see, the hreflang attribute is essential to decrease your rejection rate, increase your conversions, and show that your blog has content geared toward single language variants.
You can comment below or ask questions.