How to Use Hreflang Tags to Improve Your International SEO

Hreflang tags are one of the most popular methods for notifying search engines of alternate versions of pages of international SEO efforts.

What is Hreflang and Why Are They Important for International SEO?

Hreflang tags are html tags that are added to the <head> of webpages that provide signals to search engines that there are alternate versions of the page.

The alternate versions typically contain translated versions of the webpage in different languages. However, they can sometimes be in the same language but for different countries. For example, if you had a page in Spanish targeting Mexico, you might want a different version for your audience located in Spain. That’s where hreflang tags come in handy!

 

What Does a Hreflang Tag Look Like?

The anatomy of a hreflang tag is quite simple when it’s broken down. There are essentially three main parts of a hreflang tag.

  1. The tag and attribute: This gives search engines a signal that there will be an alternative version of the page.
  2. The link: This is the href link that tells search engines where they can find the alternate version.
  3. The language and country code: The language and country code are each two letters and signify which version is contained on the link.

For a full list of supported language and country codes, you can view Google’s accepted list.

How to Implement Hreflang Tags

Whenever you implement hreflang tags on your site, you must follow these very important rules.

  1. List all alternate versions of the page in separate tags.
  2. Include the current page as one of the alternates as well.

In this example, you can see that for the United States English version of the page, I’ve included the current (primary) page as well as the French and German alternates.

View Larger Version of Example