Commonly known as one of the most complex areas of technical SEO, hreflang tags are used to inform search engines of different country and language versions of a site. There are a lot of complex factors to consider to ensure the correct implementation of these tags and our Hangout Notes cover many real-world scenarios and Google’s recommended course of action.

Hreflang is Not Required For Untranslated Pages

November 29, 2019 Source

As hreflang is handled on a per page basis, if you have different language versions of your site but not every page is translated, it isn’t a requirement to have hreflang set up for these pages. John recommends choosing the method that best suits individual websites, this could be either including the URL in the hreflang set or not including the URL.

Hreflang Can be Implemented on Small Groups of Pages

October 29, 2019 Source

Hreflang doesn’t have to be implemented across an entire site. Sometimes it makes sense to implement hreflang on individual pages or sections where there are problems, or where it is especially important that the correct page is shown.

Only One Version of Same Content On Different Country Sites will be Indexed & Appear in GSC Performance Reports

October 18, 2019 Source

If you have the same content on multiple language variation sites, Google will pick one to index but will use hreflang attributes to swap out versions of the page based on a user’s location. However, only the page that has been chosen to be indexed, and used as the canonical, will be displayed in the GSC performance report.

Hreflang Can be Implemented on Small Groups of Pages

September 3, 2019 Source

If you’re only seeing issues with how your homepage is being displayed, then you can add hreflang to that page. You don’t have to implement hreflang across large sections of the site.

Hreflang Not Necessary For Non-Canonical Pages

July 9, 2019 Source

It isn’t necessary to implement hreflang on the non-canonical version of a page because it won’t be shown in search, therefore any hreflang annotation won’t be used by Google.

Google Can Process Hreflang Tags Regardless of How They’re Implemented

June 11, 2019 Source

It doesn’t matter to Google whether you implement hreflang tags in the HTML, in the HTTP header, in an XML sitemap or through a combination of these methods. Google will process the information in these tags regardless of the implementation method.

Hreflang Not Needed For All Page Types as Can Add Unnecessary Complexity

March 8, 2019 Source

Use hreflang for pages which need to be linked between different language and country versions. Hreflang isn’t needed for all page types, like pagination and filtering, as this can add unnecessary complexity.

Use Hreflang & Canonical Tags to Handle Partially Translated Websites

March 5, 2019 Source

John recommends using canonical tags and hreflang tags to tell Google which language version is preferred if you only have parts of a website that are translated, instead of the entire site.

Hreflang is a Minor Canonicalization Signal

October 5, 2018 Source

Google uses hreflang as a small signal when picking the canonical version of a page, but this needs to be backed up by consistent signals provided by rel canonicals, internal linking and sitemap files.

Related Topics

Geotargeting Language Local Search Internationalization