SEO Glossary: Hreflang


In a nutshell, what is a Hreflang tag?

The Hreflang tag is an important HTML attribute when a website has content in multiple languages. The goal is to use the Hreflang tag to display the correct version to visitors.

What is a Hreflang tag?

The Hreflang tag is an HTML attribute. It is mainly used when a website has content in multiple languages. If there are several versions of a page in different languages, the Hreflang tag shows them to search engines. Accordingly, Google and Co. are able to display the correct version to their users.




  • A German search engine user enters the name of company XY in Google. He immediately receives the result with the domain


  • If a French user also searches for the company, he receives the same version in his national language. The target URL is then:


In this example, the Hreflang tag has ensured that the search engine user gets the corresponding result displayed in their local language.

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Why is the Hreflang tag so relevant for SEO?

Offering a website in different languages means a lot of work. The individual language versions have to be created, content translated, etc. So the goal of website operators is to display the appropriate version in their local language to the respective visitors.

Among others, Google works with the Hreflang tag. But the Yandex search engine also takes the HTML attribute into account and enhances the information accordingly. If visitors receive the variant in their language, this results in positive user behavior. This is because they may stay longer on the page and return later. Accordingly, the bounce rate decreases and the dwell time increases.

For this reason, the Hreflang tag is very relevant and important for SEO. And since Google is the world's largest search engine with the most users, the attribute should definitely be taken into account.

But also in terms of DUPLICATE CONTENT the Hreflang tag plays an important role! For example, if you offer a US-American and a British version. In this case, the search engine is signaled that these are two different versions with corresponding content. This way, no duplicate content is created, which also does not result in a ranking loss.


How is the Hreflang tag structured?


Below is a helpful example of how a Hreflang tag is constructed. This makes it more understandable:


<link rel=“alternate“ href=““ hreflang=“de-DE“ />

  • rel="alternate" shows the search engine that an alternate version of this content is still available


  • href= at the same time under which URL the alternative content is located


  • hreflang="de also shows in which language the linked, alternative content is displayed on the alternative URL. The output is in ISO 639-1 format.


  • -DE" is an optional country identifier. It is useful, for example, when similar content is in the same language but intended for different regions. The best example is content that is suitable for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Here the ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format is used.


Tip: Are there any difficulties in creating Hreflang tags? There are handy Hreflang tag generators available on the web for this purpose.

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Hreflang Tag Conclusion

If a website contains content in different languages, the hreflang tag has become indispensable. It ensures a positive user experience for visitors and also avoids duplicate content.


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