Hreflang Tag and SEO for Multilingual Sites

Hreflang Tag and SEO for Multilingual Sites
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When it comes to SEO management on multilingual sites, Hreflang tags are practically a must for your project. With these tags, you can direct users connecting to your website from different locations to pages that are specifically prepared and optimized for their location.

It is quite normal to find the method a bit confusing when you first encounter Hreflang tags. By examining the topics below, you can find answers to your questions like “What is the Hreflang tag?” and start providing a better experience for users and improve your SEO rankings in projects targeting multiple languages.

What is the Hreflang Tag?

The Hreflang tag is an HTML tag used to mark different language versions of pages that serve the same purpose and contain similar content. Thanks to the Hreflang tag, search engine bots can see which country and language the page is targeting, and thus present the correct version of your page for the relevant location.

The real potential of the Hreflang tag emerges when targeting different countries that use a common language. For example, the language used in the United States and the United Kingdom is English. If you create two different pages targeting these two countries but do not prepare an Hreflang tag for these pages, it is quite likely to encounter Duplicate Content issues due to both pages being shown in relevant English queries and even having two different pages targeting the same query.

However, if you create two different Hreflang tags, “en-us” and “en-uk” for the two pages mentioned in the example, you can signal to Google which page should be shown in which region, thus ensuring that users reach the correct page.

How to Add Hreflang Tags?

In many ready-made software, breakdowns for different languages can be automatically created. When creating these breakdowns, you need to choose between Subfolder and Subdomain methods. Once you create a breakdown for the language and region you are targeting and create a new page, the only thing left is to add the Hreflang tag. Assuming the standard targeting on your website’s homepage is in Turkish and you have added English and German as language variations, you will have 3 different breakdowns:

If you want to create Hreflang tags for these 3 different breakdowns, you should create a structure like the following and place these Hreflang tags between the <head> codes of your relevant pages.

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”tr”/>

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en”/>

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”de”/>Using Hreflang in Multilingual Sites When it comes to using Hreflang on multilingual sites, there are many issues you need to focus on and ensure their accuracy. Implementing the following items is quite important in terms of achieving successful rankings for your website’s language variations and not affecting your SEO performance.

  • Original content must be used on pages targeting the same language but different regions, such as “en-us”, “en-uk”, and “en-au”. The use of Hreflang tags will not solve the Duplicate Content issue.
  • Hreflang tags for all Hreflang URLs should be included on the pages. That is, your Turkish page’s <head> HTML codes should include Hreflang tags pointing to both itself and the other language alternatives. There is no way to skip or loosen this requirement. If your website has 40 different language versions, you must present URLs for all these versions to search engine bots.
  • Canonical tags must be used in all language versions. The Canonical tags added to these pages must always point to themselves.
  • If you want your website’s different language versions to achieve successful rankings, you must definitely add these URLs to the Sitemap.

As seen, using Hreflang is actually quite simple. You just need to pay attention to these critical points. To discover methods that will improve your websites’ SEO performance, you can examine the content prepared by experts at CRM Media.

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