Running a Global Enterprise? You would have experienced duplicate content issues in the web pages or specific to certain SEO elements such as meta content. Therefore, SEO gurus recommend to use “hreflang” attribute in Google. Nonetheless, Google is informed about the preferred URLs through “hreflang” element while using the same content for different regional websites. Interestingly, this practice assist in seeing the desired web page in a better position in search results and to avoid duplicate issues. Hence, it is wise to add the “hreflang” element to the header section of HTML. An alternate solution is to update site map with alternate URLs.

Hreflang Values

The hreflang attribute need to have value to identify the language following the ISO 639-1 format. For example, Values for regions (ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format) can also be added to the language values.

Hreflang

Technical ways to implement Hreflang values using link elements in the HTML Head tag are:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/en-gb” hreflang=”en-gb” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/en-us” hreflang=”en-us” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/en-au” hreflang=”en-au” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/” hreflang=”x-default” /> (source)

Consider a scenario where a user prefer to have three different language versions (English, French and German) and two English versions (general version and UK specific). Then, it can represented with the following URLs:

http://www.example.com/en/ – general English version

http://www.example.co.uk/en/ – UK English version

http://www.example.com/fr/ – French version

http://www.example.com/de/ – German version

Assume that separate URLs for users in Serbia, Turkey and Australia are used. In that case all other English speakers should see the generic English page. Annotate this information using a sitemap or HTML link tags like the following ones:

http://example.com/en-sr” hreflang=”en-sr” />

http://example.com/en-tr” hreflang=”en-tr” />

http://example.com/en-au” hreflang=”en-au” />

http://example.com/en” hreflang=”en” />

Benefits of using multi-lingual websites
  • Opportunity to tap potential customers from different countries
  • Favorable chance to incorporate international SEO. Thus, it becomes easy to target potential customers on local search engines
  • Increase sales as an extension to increased leads
  • Better ranking and subsequent growth in global reputation
Summary:

Competitive search market encourages web site owners to fix site issues at the earliest. Thus, include the Google recommendation of using alternate attribute with the appropriate hreflang values. Thereby, you may avoid duplicate content issues created by multilingual or multi regionals sites with the different versions of same content.