Errors in hreflang attributes: what are they and how to fix them
Common hreflang attribute errors
For example, you need to create a page for English-speaking citizens living in the United States. Using the "en-us" format is correct. For English-speaking citizens from the UK, the correct sequence is "en-gb," but not "en-uk." According to the rules of setting the attribute, the language must be specified, and the region may be completely absent.
In some links, only the region is found, and this is wrong. It is allowed to use the only language so that the page is displayed to people who speak a specific language, but are located anywhere in the world.
In the example, the English version is used for all pages. This is an error:
- links direct to pages that do not exist. When clicking on the URL, an error 4xx or 5xx is shown;
- lacking a specific hreflang element. If a language version exists, but no attribute has been created for it;
- the ones redirect to another page. In this case, the second URL is not indexed;
- without full indication of their components. We are talking about the so-called relative links with the missing first part.
How to find and fix hreflang errors
What you need to do to prevent errors:
- errors in specifying languages and regions according to the standards;
- using nonexistent links and redirects;
- lack of backlinks to pages with the attribute;
- the order of specifying the component links with the hreflang attribute;
- specifying multiple pages for one language version.
To find the hreflang attributes with errors and fix them, you need to conduct a small audit of the pages and adjust everything that does not comply with the rules for setting up sites with several language versions.
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