Home > Uncategorized > Multilingual #SEO, with hreflang tags

Multilingual #SEO, with hreflang tags

Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 11.37.10

There are many myths surrounding SEO, some completely unfounded, some educated guesswork – someone might say to wrap your key terms in bold tags, does that work?, who knows. It’s an educated guess. Google keeps it’s ranking algorithm top secret, so weighting factors are hard to know.

However, when you get an email from Google saying that you’ve made a mistake with an SEO feature, that *HAS* to mean that Google is paying attention to it, and has given it enough weight to send out emails about it.

So, the feature is hreflang tags, they tell google if there is a country/language specific version of the website that might be more applicable to a user from that country, for example

<link href=”http://ie.carregistrationapi.com” hreflang=”en-IE” rel=”alternate” type=”text/html”/>

<link href=”http://www.vehicleregistrationapi.com” hreflang=”en-US” rel=”alternate” type=”text/html”/>

Tells google that I want Irish visitors to go to ie.carregistrationapi.com and US visitors to go to VehicleRegistrationAPI.com, so Google can adapt the results accordingly. Since both websites are in english, it might be otherwise hard for Google to determine which of the two is more applicable  – of course I’ve set the International targeting in Webmaster tools to prefer Irish and US respectively … but this is another re-enforcing step.

Now, the interesting thing is, that if you don’t set up reciprocal hreflang tags, so if you don’t hreflang-link back from Ireland to US, but you do in the opposite direction, and you’ve registered your website with Google webmaster tools, then you get a warning, like this:

Search Console

Errors in hreflang tags on http://www.placaapi.com/

You’re almost there

We found the hreflang tags on your site, but a few of them have technical problems. Take a look at our hreflang report to see which of your hreflang tags have issues. Until you fix these tag errors, your website will not benefit from additional language or region targeting.


The fix is simple, you just set up reciprocal hreflang-links, but what’s interesting, is that Google is treating this with a similar level of importance to 404 errors, or mobile friendliness, which are obvious ranking factors.

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