Hreflang

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.

ccTLDs Can Target Other Countries Using Hreflang But Not Geotargeting

July 27, 2018 Source

ccTLDs can use hreflang to target pages to different countries but they can’t geotarget those pages for other different countries.


Noindexing Some Pages with Hreflang Tags Won’t Affect Whole Configuration

July 24, 2018 Source

It’s fine to noindex some pages within a set which have hreflang tags implemented. The noindexed URL will simply be removed from the set that Google uses, without affecting the other pages.


IP Addresses Are No Longer Used For Geotargeting or Local SEO

July 24, 2018 Source

Server IP addresses used to be a signal in the early days of Google’s geotargeting. Now Google uses ccTLD, generic TLD, hreflang, as well as settings in Google My Business and Google Search Console in combination to infer geotargeting information which is much more useful than a single IP.


Using Country Code Rather than x-default for Hreflang is Easier to Manage

July 24, 2018 Source

When specifying the main language version of a site, having the x-default language code or the specific language code is the same to Google, but defining the language code is easier for site owners to keep track of.


There are Several Options For Different Country Versions of Product Pages

July 13, 2018 Source

There are several options for dealing with product pages with different country versions. Separate landing pages with hreflang mean that the value of the page is diluted. Using IP redirects and having all versions on the same page will result in Googlebot only crawling the US version. Serving country-dependent elements in JavaScript and blocking them from being crawled is a further option.


en-eu Hreflang Tags Aren’t Officially Supported Even Though They Can be Picked Up

July 10, 2018 Source

Google has been able to pick up some instances of using the not officially supported ‘en-eu’ hreflang country code, but it isn’t used for anything. John doesn’t recommend using it.


Google Doesn’t Support Hreflang Links in Anchor Tags

June 12, 2018 Source

Google doesn’t support hreflang links in anchor tags. John recommends implementing hreflang in the head of a page, in the HTTP header or in a sitemap file because it is complicated enough already without including it elsewhere on a page.


Hreflang Should be Between Pages of the Same Format

May 18, 2018 Source

Hreflang links should be between the same formats of pages e.g. including hreflang links between AMP pages and separate mobile pages.


Hreflang Should be Included Between the Canonical Versions of Pages

May 18, 2018 Source

Including hreflang on paginated pages is fine but the most important thing is to include hreflang tags between the canonical versions of the page.


Related Topics

Geotargeting Language Local Search Internationalization