You can use the rel="alternate" hreflang="x" link-attribute to make sure that Google can identify the geographical focus for your website and always deliver the correct language version or regional URL for your content. Use our validator to check all the hreflang link-attribute markup for the multi-language content on your website.
The hreflang-guide for international SEO
In this guide we will show you how to correctly handle multi-language websites when it comes to Google. Avoid duplicate content and learn how to use the hreflang link-attribute.
When should I make use of the hreflang-markup?
Google advises on using the hreflang-markup for the following scenarios:
- If the webpages are identical or nearly identical
- If only the website template has been translated
- If the entire website has been translated
- If there is a main page for all visitors, with the exception of users from a specific language- /country-region
Things that are worth knowing when it comes to validating the hreflang-markup
Each language (xx) needs to always use the ISO 639-1 format. The country-code (-XX) is optional and has to be specified using the ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format. The ISO-code is not case-sensitive. Google will even accept lower-case markup for the optional regional-codes. In these cases, the hreflang link-attribute will also be valid. It is always a good idea to keep to the conventional style of having the ISO-code lower-case and the optional ISO-region-code upper-case.
What is the correct way of using the hreflang-markup?
When you use the hreflang-markup it is important to keep the bi-directional nature of the links in mind. This means that all equal content needs to be linked between each other. If the hreflang-markup is set up in "one direction" you will have broken the structure and Google will consider the markup invalid.
Example:Every piece of content is referencing the other pieces of content, respectively (bidirectional links).
Expanding your site to more languages
Google covers best practices for expanding your site to new languages or country-based language variations. We discuss use cases of international sites, implementation of rel="alternate" hreflang, and even more.