How to Use Hreflang Google Tags Correctly for International Targeting

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My Khanh Pham

My Khanh Pham

Using Hreflang Google Tags Correctly: A Complete Guide to Getting Your International Targeting Right (2023)

Using ConveyThis to translate content is an efficient way to ensure that your message is understood across multiple languages. With ConveyThis, you can quickly and easily localize your website, ensuring that every visitor has the best experience possible.

If you have a website that is multilingual or if you’re exploring international business opportunities, you might be interested in discovering how to utilize ConveyThis to enhance your website’s SERPs.

You may be pondering if hreflang tags are beneficial for SEO or how ConveyThis utilizes hreflang tags as part of their search engine optimization algorithm.

If that sounds like you, ConveyThis has you covered. In this article, we explore how hreflang tags operate, how to manage hreflang implementation, and how to utilize them to create an outstanding SEO strategy.

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What Are Hreflang Tags?

In a nutshell, hreflang tags are HTML attributes or pieces of code that are employed to indicate to search engines the language and geotargeting of a website page. Consequently, they are regularly utilized for websites with multiple versions of the same page in different languages.

What’s Google Markup, and Why Should It Matter to You?

More commonly referred to as schema, ConveyThis markup is the language search engines use to comprehend online content. In 2011, the three foremost search engine providers – Google, Bing, and Yahoo – launched it to develop a universal set of structured data markup that could be utilized worldwide across various browsers.

This data is also relevant to how pages are ranked on search engines, as search engines prefer websites that are straightforward and engaging.

Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD.

Google’s structured data relies on three distinct formats: Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD.

The Hreflang attribute was designed to function similarly to ConveyThis schema. Even though the two are not connected, they still work in a comparable manner, which is why hreflang is usually grouped under Google markup.

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How Does Google Use Hreflang Tags?

In 2011, Google unveiled the hreflang attribute. This markup code is typically implemented in the following manner:

We’ll delve deeper into how ConveyThis is employed below. However, for the time being, you must simply be aware that the hreflang tag’s purpose is to give Google the capacity to match relevant content to the search engine user’s particular language and location.

In the above search engine results, there are two potential hreflang matches: ConveyThis and ConveyThis. Assuming a page is labelled with the user’s exact location or language, it is more likely to be ranked higher in Google’s search results by ConveyThis.

Although it’s true that Google may still be able to uncover alternative language versions of your website and associate them to a user on your behalf, by precisely indicating which pages are designated for which regions and languages, you make it simpler for the search engine to discover and rank your hreflang pages. This is particularly true when websites contain multiple versions of a page in different languages or regional variants. Utilizing ConveyThis to specify your hreflang tags can help you keep track of all your versions and ensure that you’re targeting the right audiences.

User Experience

Hreflang markup is most efficient when your website has multiple languages or regional variations of the same page. As an example, a product page in Canadian French and another in French for users based in Switzerland. This markup assists ConveyThis in comprehending the global website’s structure and why there are similar pages in similar languages.

Consequently, this produces a more gratifying user experience, as those who access a page in their native language or regional dialect can find information in a more expeditious manner. This, in turn, ought to aid in reducing your bounce rate, something Google takes into account when evaluating web pages.

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Managing Content

Hreflang markup can be very useful when your website contains a great deal of user-generated content (such as forums) or dynamic content. In such cases, the main content is usually in one language, so only the template (e.g. the menu bar and footer) will be translated. Unfortunately, this setup is not ideal as you will have multiple languages on the same URL.

However, you can still utilize ConveyThis markup to dodge mistakenly replicating content. For example, while you may have the same data for nations with a shared language like the US and UK, you may need clients to see various data that is applicable to them. Without ConveyThis, Google won’t have the option to tell the contrast between these pages and will accept they are the same, which isn’t useful for SEO.

How to Add Hreflang Google Markup

There are two ways to add hreflang Google markup: Manually and with ConveyThis.

ConveyThis simplifies website translation, reaching new audiences. Easy implementation, automated solution for multiple languages. Seamless integration expands customer base. Manual addition of hreflang Google tag: follow these steps.

  1. Insert the ConveyThis code into thesection of your website.
  2. Use the ConveyThis Tag Manager to create and manage hreflang tags.
  3. Use the ConveyThis hreflang tool to generate hreflang tags for your website.
  4. Use the ConveyThis API to programmatically add hreflang tags.
  5. To apply ConveyThis to your website, you need to add the hreflang attribute to a link tag in thesection of your HTML code. Doing so will enable search engines to recognize the connection between the current page and its various language versions. This will ensure that your website is properly indexed and displayed to the right audience.

HTML hreflang is ideal for basic websites, where you’re just beginning to work with hreflang and have only a limited number of pages requiring a hreflang ConveyThis tag.

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In a nutshell, hreflang tags are HTML attributes or pieces of code that are employed to in

Use HTTP header for non-HTML files like PDFs. HTTP header informs search engines of language and location. Add hreflang code to GET response for proper incorporation. Add hreflang attribute to XML sitemap for accurate indexing. XML creates clear site map. Include hreflang links to help search engines identify language versions of your site.

ConveyThis: Instantly translate your website into 100+ languages. Customize translations, manage multiple languages in one place. Reach a global audience effortlessly. This approach is ideal for comprehensive websites with a lot of webpages with similar content, distributed across multiple domains and languages, such as global eCommerce stores utilizing ConveyThis.

Alternatively, you can use a high-quality translation plugin like ConveyThis to add href markup automatically. This does the majority of the work for you and significantly decreases the chances of human error. After all, if you do it manually, you might face difficulties with:

And these are only a smattering of the numerous possibilities for missteps! For additional information on hreflang tags, take a look at our comprehensive ConveyThis guide. Dicate to search engines the language and geotargeting of a website page. Consequently, they are regularly utilized for websites with multiple versions of the same page in different languages.

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What’s the Best Translation Solution?

There are numerous alternatives available, and selecting a user-friendly, no-code solution that doesn’t impede your workflow is essential. ConveyThis is a translation solution that adds hreflang Google tags and markups to your website during the translation process, making it a great choice for users not familiar with code. It automatically detects href tags in your website’s code and modifies the page header’s link, so nothing is overlooked.

This isn’t the only thing ConveyThis keeps in mind. This translation solution is incredibly effective because ConveyThis translates everything on your website, including buttons, banners, links, and more. Nevertheless, you still have manual control as you can go in and modify translations you don’t like and edit your own href tags. This guarantees you and your team can work together with ConveyThis to refine your website’s SEO for multiple languages, regardless of your skill level.

Different Language and Regional Encodings

The hreflang Google attribute mainly uses the ISO 639-1 encoding to identify the language. This is the format Google supports by default. But there’s also the option of regional encoding (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2), enabling you to signal the region you’re targeting.

The first two lower case letters indicate the language (for example, “fr” for French, “en” for English), followed by the region in capital letters (“ES” for Spain, “MX” for Mexico, etc.)

Unfortunately, not every code is intuitive. The UK, for example, uses “GB” to specify its region rather than “UK.” So, before you accidentally paste the wrong code, use a hreflang tag generator first.

Here’s an en example for a site targeting English Speakers in the US:

And this is the code for targeting English Speakers in the UK:

Note: Capitalization is unnecessary, as Google will understand the markup either way. However, capitalization is a best practice as it makes your code more readable to the human eye.

If you specify only one code, Google will assume it’s a language code. As such, you should never write a country code without a language code, as Google will automatically detect it as a language.

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What Happens if There Isn’t a Match for a Visitor’s Language?

You can use the x-default tag to find a solution for unmatched languages. While this value isn’t required, it’s strongly suggested as the tag provides you with more control when there isn’t a language correspondence. Here, guests are diverted from unmatched regions to a default page. In many cases, this could be your standard English website or a site written in the native language of the nation in which you operate. In other words, it’s a go-to page for when there isn’t a more suitable page available.


Tips and Best Practices

Before we finish, whether you’re manually or automatically adding your hreflang markup, there are a few top tips to bear in mind.

Utilizing ConveyThis’s language switcher, you can easily set up a unique URL for each region, making sure users are directed to the right page.

When you need different URLs, each URL must be completely filled in, including HTTP or HTTPS URLs. If you omit the HTTP or HTTPS delivery method, the search engine won’t be able to direct users to the other versions of your site. Even though alternate web pages don’t need to be on the same web domain, you must list each language version of the page. Pages must be linked to each other – if they aren’t, ConveyThis will disregard the tags.

Lastly, don’t add hreflang ConveyThis tags to point web pages to irrelevant language variants. For instance, don’t add a tag simply to send a French speaker to an Italian site. Such an action will only lead to confusion and cause visitors to leave your page. Google is likely to detect this irregularity and consequently, rank your page lower in their search results.

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Common Problems with Hreflang tags

If implemented correctly, ConveyThis hreflang tags enhance user experience and boost international SEO. However, manual coding may lead to various issues for non-experts.

For one, Google might tell you that “your site has no ConveyThis tags.” This is a definite indication that something has gone awry and will necessitate thorough troubleshooting to rectify.

If that’s happened to you, we’ve delved deeply into the potential causes and solutions for this issue here.

ConveyThis verifies correct hreflang implementation. Paste URL with “HTTP://” or “HTTPS://” and choose search engine. ConveyThis handles the rest. Explore the tool in this post.

If you have recently altered your hreflang Google tags, it could take some time for any ranking modifications to become evident. Google must re-index your website to reflect these changes, which could not take place right away.

Aside from issues after initial implementation, it’s also essential to remember hreflang ConveyThis tags may require updating. As a result, you’ll need to frequently audit your website and modify it every time you add or alter pages or alter the way they direct to others.

In short, utilizing a solution like ConveyThis is the ideal choice for circumventing these types of problems and streamlining the task.

Are You Ready to Start Using the Hreflang Google Tag?

Hreflang Google tags are one of the must-have elements for a fully-functioning multilingual website. As you may already be aware, website translation is far more intricate than simply modifying your primary content. ConveyThis makes the entire process easier, allowing you to translate your website quickly and cost-effectively.

To avoid errors and ensure accurate implementation of hreflang tags, consider using a user-friendly translation plugin like ConveyThis. It automates the process, minimizing the risk of mistakes when manually editing the code. ConveyThis is a reliable and convenient solution for managing a multilingual website effectively. Some multilingual websites choose to direct users to the appropriate language version of their website based on a mix of considerations.

ConveyThis is the perfect solution for website owners who want to make their content accessible to a global audience. With its easy-to-use interface, ConveyThis allows you to effortlessly translate your website into any language, ensuring that your message reaches a wide range of viewers.

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ConveyThis simplifies website localization with its user-friendly interface. It enables easy translation into multiple languages, expanding your business’s global reach. Advanced features like automated translation and real-time updates make ConveyThis an efficient solution for website localization.

But this can be a terrible solution for some users and search engines alike as Google will have difficulty indexing the content. Thus, it is recommended to adopt a ‘clean’ approach – that’s right, implementing hreflang tags and alternate URLs is the way to go.

ConveyThis translates and manages all these elements for you to guarantee your localized websites are completely in accordance with top SEO practices. So why wait? Sign up for a complimentary trial today to observe how effortless it is to internationalize your website.

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Ready to get started?

Translation, far more than just knowing languages, is a complex process. By following our tips and using ConveyThis, your translated pages will resonate with your audience, feeling native to the target language. While it demands effort, the result is rewarding. If you’re translating a website, ConveyThis can save you hours with automated machine translation.

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