The following are the most common questions we get related to HREFlang implementations. If you have a question that is not covered here reach out to us.
hreflang is important to ensure Google understands the correct language or regional dialect version of your site to present in search results. Without hreflang the most relevant page will be shown and it may not be the version for that market. For example, if you have a page for Spain and one for Mexico, Google may show the Spain version in Mexico since it appears to be more authoritative.
Answer: The hreflang element must be used for any and all pages that have an alternate version. It should be added to the page or included in the xml site map
It is strongly recommended that you use the hreflang element for any page that has an alternate no matter what domain it is on. This is actually one of the best reasons to manage your hreflang elements with XML sitemaps. Enterprise hreflang XML tools can map the URLs no matter what domain they are on. You can also host the XML sitemaps for all of the different sites in the same location. This makes maintaining them much easier.
The rel=canonical must be its own entity as must the hreflang element for the page. You cannot combine them under any conditions despite what creative developers assume.
Not, you must use an hreflang element for the self-referencing element the canonical tag and hreflang tags do two different things.
The hreflang element does not have any impact on where a page ranks. It only gives a strong signal that you want a specific page to rank in local language or market. If for example, the UK page is ranking in Australia and you implement hreflang for both pages, Google will swap the UK page for the local Australian page in the Australia search results.
The hreflang element does not have any impact on where a page ranks but can improve your overall SEO performance with increased clicks and more importantly more purchases due to the correct market page with local currency and shipping information being provided.
Yes, you can use multiple hreflang attributes for a single page to indicate that the page is intended for multiple markets which are typical for regional sites like LatAm or APAC. We have a detailed breakdown of how to deploy hreflang for regional sites.