What is the Hreflang Tag?
Hreflang Tag – A code in the HTML of a website that tells search engines like Google which spoken language a web page is using. These are especially useful for websites that have versions of pages in multiple languages, as they help Google understand which pages are related and which should be shown to specific audiences.
It’s useful when you’ve created content that’s specific to a local audience. The hreflang attribute adds a signal to search engines that a user querying in language “x” will want this result instead of a page with similar content in language “y”.
Here is and example, if you create a Spanish-language version of your English-language homepage, you would tag it as “Español” by using hreflang=”es” so that searchers with an IP address that a search engine has reason to believe is in a Spanish-speaking country are served that page in Spanish instead of the English version. This can decrease your bounce rate and increase your conversions by making sure your target audience lands on the version of your page most appropriate for them.
Hreflang can also be used to show that you have content targeted toward variants of a single language. If that’s the case, you can target your pages even more specifically by extending the hreflang attribute with annotations that indicate which region the content is localized for, e.g. Spain hreflang=”es-es” versus Mexico hreflang=”es-mx”. This is particularly useful to geotarget users to control for variations in currency, shipping, seasonality, and culture.
Hreflang is a signal
Hreflang is a signal, not a directive. That means that other SEO factors may override the hreflang attribute and cause a different version of your page to rank higher. To give search engines the clearest possible signals about which pages are for users in which language, make sure you’re using other international SEO best practices.
Note that while Google and Yandex currently use the hreflang attribute, Bing uses language meta tags instead.
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