5 Misconceptions about HREFLang

Bill Scully

Don’t Belive Everything You Read

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, understanding the intricacies of Hreflang tags is crucial for international websites. However, several misconceptions surrounding Hreflang can lead to confusion and misimplementation. Let’s debunk some of the most common myths.

  1. Hreflang is a Ranking Factor
    Contrary to popular belief, hreflang is not a direct ranking factor. Its primary purpose is to serve the right language or regional URL to the right users. While it can indirectly influence user experience and bounce rates, it doesn’t directly boost your site’s rankings.
  2. Only Large Websites Need Hreflang
    Size doesn’t dictate the need for hreflang. Whether your site is large or small, if you have multiple language versions or serve different regions, implementing hreflang is essential to ensure the right content reaches the right audience.
  3. Hreflang Implementation is a One-Time Task
    Implementing hreflang is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. As your website grows and evolves, so should your hreflang strategy. Regular audits and updates are necessary to ensure its effectiveness.
  4. Hreflang is Only for Websites with Multiple Languages
    While hreflang is commonly associated with multilingual sites, it’s most beneficial for sites with content tailored to different regions in the same language. For instance, a site with content for both US and UK audiences in English can benefit from hreflang so people in the UK do not see prices in US Dollars.
  5. Hreflang Tags Should Only Be in the Header
    Hreflang tags can be implemented in various ways, not just in the header. They can be placed in HTTP headers, or sitemaps. The key is to choose the method that best suits your website’s structure and CMS. But if you have pages that are found and not indexed, a HREFlang sitemap is the way to go because they will be referenced in the tag on the other pages, but Google will not see reciprocal links on the unindexed pages.

Not sure if you need to fix your rankings on regional sites? I’ve created a Free Looker Studio Dashboard you can check to get a quick view if your pages are showing on the wrong regions. HREFLang Checker.

Wrapping This Up
Hreflang is a powerful tool for international SEO, but it’s essential to understand its nuances to use it effectively. I hope I’ve helped clear up these common misconceptions so you are more informed and successful in the implementation of hreflang tags for our global audience.

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About the Author

Bill Scully

Over 20 years of international digital marketing working with matrix companies to drive profits by increasing traffic and online conversions. Consultant to turn ideas and budget into outcomes. Consulting on international search engine optimization, search engine marketing, conversion optimization. Owner of Digital Marketing Fuel, LLC