Hreflang Attribute in SEO: A Guide for Beginners [2021]
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What is Hreflang Attribute in SEO?

Whatever you think of, a more convenient option and advancement of technology present that in front of you. How amazing it sounds when your search engine acts as a professional language translator. A captivating feature allows the search engine to develop a deep relationship between multilingual languages and multi-regional sites. Hreflang is an HTML attribute that is used to link tags to connect language and regional language documents.

Revealing the Logic to Add Hreflang

Globalization brought us an opportunity to expand business across borders, but language was a restriction. The introduction of hreflang removed this barrier. It made it possible to interact with people from other countries. With the use of hreflang, the international market is easily tapped.

It improves the possibility of preparing your service in the international market because language acts as a significant barrier resolved by introducing the hreflang attribute by Google. This is the start of art which helps to engage targeted audiences from the international market. Nobody has ever imagined this. Google has introduced a tool that can optimize the local content to the customer and connect the fresh or organic audience from the international market. All this comprehension about this topic can give a deep and precise idea about the importance of Hreflang in today's digital world. 

Essentiality of Hreflang in SEO

Google does not confirm the role of the hreflang attribute in SEO, but it plays a vital role as using this attribute increases the CTR, which is a significant ranking factor in Google. It is an effective on-page SEO technique to increase ranking and bring more traffic. Two important factors are given below

  1. The content becomes relatable to many local languages, enhancing the experience of users on the website hence decreasing bounce rate and increasing CTR of Google. Therefore, it acts as an indirect signal for Google's ranking.
  2. It also solves the problem of duplicate content as Google prefers the original content for ranking. If you mention this attribute in the coding, Google may refer to it as a conical version and select the website.

Hreflang does not guarantee success, but at the same time, using this is always beneficial. It is considered very useful in a multilingual website to tap the potential of the resources.

Pros of Hreflang Attribute

What does Hreflang offer to its users from an SEO perspective? Two basic pros of using Hreflang are:

Commercial and Advanced User Experience

This attribute enhances the experience of the user and is proved to be a beneficial tool. It enables the user to directly land on a page customized according to their language and region. It helps to decrease the bounce rate by allowing the user to understand more and gain maximum from available data.

Curb Issue of Duplicate Content

Google has strict policies for duplicate content, and your competitor quickly gets an advantage over this. Hreflang attribute provides the search engine clarity that the URL is the master copy and the content is almost identical but customized as per the requirement of people. For example, if the company aims at different English-speaking countries, there will minimal changes, and Google may take it as duplicate content, but hreflang will prevent this.

Favorable Impact of Hreflang on Ranking

Providing searchers with relatable and quality content is the company's sole aim by making use of Hreflang. Hreflang does not attract traffic on the site but helps to provide the exact information to the searcher and enhance their experience of searching on the web. Search engines can quickly locate the correct version of your page on SERP, using a hreflang tag in code based on metrics like location, user's preference languages, etc... In case you don't know how search engines work read this guide.

The contrast between Hreflang and Canonicalization

Hreflang and Canonicalization have almost the exact nature, i.e. they target removing duplicate content but differently. Canonicalization helps to highlight the main webpage among all web pages with virtually the same content.

Whereas hreflang code collects all similar content as one and determines and locates the best-suited URL according to the user's needs. Hreflang tag makes the concept of international SEO an essential thing to understand for expanding business abroad.

Scenario and Annotations of Hreflang

You can use this in a different scenario, such as

1. Country With Diverse Language

In a country like India with a diverse culture and languages, if you want to target the whole country, you can use this attribute and make your business grow. 

Proper Language, region codes, and country codes will make searchers from different regions search in their language and get the result according to their requirements.

2. Same Language Varied Country

The hreflang tag will help us to interact with people all over the world. The tag will make the search engine know about the relatable content shown because of mentioned codes.

3. Different Language, Different Country

This feature enables users to search from different countries in different languages and find the content relatable because they absorb more. People understand what is written as it is offered to them in their preferred languages.

Installing Hreflang Tag

You can install hreflang at below mentioned places

1. Head Section

It is simple to implement a hreflang tag here if you are doing it for the first time. A link tag is used along with this, which goes inside the head element of HTML Markup.

2. HTTP Header

Where HTML Markups are not present, you can use an HTTP header to provide all data about the page when enquired by Google. It shows the presence and display of all its variant versions available.

3. XML Sitemap

Including the hreflang tag in the sitemap is a bit complicated but worth doing. It helps to delete a particular code or language without even changing the code on site.

To use the Hreflang tag, you must follow rules of self-referencing, Bi-directional referencing, and the usage of X- Default value, and converting it in Fallback version acts a good practice. Right from the beginning, it has come so far, and now it works as an integral part of SEO marketing. It might indeed seem complicated, but it is way more straightforward than you perceive.

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