3 Common Hreflang Tag Errors & How To Fix Them

Hreflang tags work for any site that is wanting to target several languages and/or nations with equated variations of the very same page.

Similarly to the canonical tag, these tags are a ‘hint’ to Google. In other words, they’re not a ‘directive’ and they can be neglected by Google, however in many cases, they tend to be embraced as they intend to serve a much better user experience for the end-user.

Three typical mistakes with hreflang tags to be familiar with

Hreflang tags are among the most intricate locations of SEO to comprehend, as they’re especially technical and are frequently improperly carried out.

The great news is, we’ve noted below the 3 most typical mistakes connected with hreflang tags, with suggestions on how to set them up properly.

1. They’re not bi-directional

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Whenever a hreflang tag is referenced on a page in the HTML, it ought to supply a list of alternative variations of the very same page, with the target county and the target language connected with each page noted.

So, if you’re on a page and you have alternative variations of this page for English speakers in the UK, you would require to reference these URLs thus:

  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en-us” />
  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”es-es” />
  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en-gb” />


The bottom line here is that if you were to check out any of these alternative pages, the very same hreflang tags ought to exist in order to reference back to the United States variation of the page.

This will guarantee that all variations of the URL will reference each other with the very same nation and language referrals.

2. They’re not self-referencing


In the example above, you’ll see that all 3 variations of the page are noted in the hreflang code. This indicates that on the United States variation of the page, it is likewise referring to itself within the code. This is among the most typical mistakes we see so it’s worth monitoring.

This isn’t a needed action, Google can normally do a respectable task at working out the alternate variations of each page without the self-referencing line. However, as constantly with SEO you ought to attempt and ‘do all the things’ to make certain that you have the very best possibility at ranking worldwide.

3. They don’t have a default page to draw on

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Another typical mistake is that the websites doesn’t define a default URL to draw on.

In other words, if you just have a Spanish, English and French variation of a page, and a German speaker visited your website – which variation should Google program?

In most circumstances, a site can default to ‘English’ as the fallback language, as it is so extensively utilized. However, this will depend upon your target audience so make certain it’s the most appropriate option for the greatest variety of non-attributed visitors. You can constantly develop more equated variations of a page if you feel there are more languages or nations to target – simply make certain to make them bi-directional and self-referencing!

Here’s what a default URL would appear like in a hreflang tag:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”x-default”/>

All you require to do is define your favored URL and consist of ‘x-default’ in location of the country/language area. This will catch any visitors who don’t fall under your defined languages or nations and reveal them this variation of the page.

How your Hreflang tag should look

So with all of these typical errors in mind, how should your complete Hreflang tag appearance in your code?

Using our above example, this is how it should search this URL “”:

  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en-us” />
  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”es-es” />
  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en-gb” />
  • <link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”x-default” />


Who can assist with Hreflang Tags?

If you’re having a hard time to get hreflang tags established for your global site, we’d like to talk! We’ve dealt with several brand names on their global SEO technique to broaden into brand-new, untapped markets around the world.

Get in touch today to see if we can assist.


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