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What is Hreflang?

The journey towards SEO mastery is terrific and seems to get more complex as you continue. From English words like crawling and indexing and ranking, we start to encounter not very English words like Hreflang tags, Robots.txt (file link), HTML, etc. Many times, the term Hreflang comes off as a bit too complex to people who are just getting exposed to it, the concept a bit hard to understand. 

Don’t’ worry; Hreflang, like many SEO concepts, is not as hard as it looks. You only need to understand the root of the concept, and you will be using it for the growth of your site in no time. 

Hreflang: what is it?

Some books are so popular that they have to be reprinted in a lot of languages. Sometimes, the title doesn’t have a direct translation and remains the same despite the language change in the reprint. How then does one know what language the book is written in? 

Well, usually, there is a small part around the cover page that carries the inscription; “French edition.” Look around some more, and you will see the term: “For sale in France.”

Basically, these terms on a book that points towards language and towards the geographical location the author wants the book to be published in can be described as HReflang. 

On the internet, HReflang is an HTML (Hypertext markup language) tag attribute, which search engines look for as they scan webpages to get an idea of what language the pages are written in and the geographic location where these pages are going to be appreciated. 

If you search for Adidas’s official website from the United States, the result that will pop up will not be the same result that pops up when you search for Adidas’s official website from France. From the US, Adidas.com will pop up. But from France, Adidas.fr will pop up. 

Search engines are able to tell the difference between searches like these using HreFlang. 

In search engine optimization, the relevance of Hreflang cannot be overemphasized because they have a huge effect on your site and how it ranks on the search engine results page. 

Remember that search engines want to satisfy their users; that is, they want their users to be completely fine with the service. If searchers want to read works in German, search engines will give them results in German. If they want to read works in French, search engines will give them works in French.

When you include Hreflang to your page, you tell search engines like Google that your site is written in many languages and suitable for visitors from different geographical locations. 

Guess what this means? It means that Google is going to make your pages appear across different locations. 

A person from Dubai can search for something on Google, and Google presents your webpage. Google will do so for even people searching from Germany. This means more engagements—More clicks and more conversions

Hreflang is also a great way to avoid the punishments that come with double content on your website.  

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