According to Toni Anicic in his articles about the SEO of Multilingual eCommerce Websites, among the 7 common misconceptions, lacking or the poor implementation of the
rel="alternate" hreflang="x" is the number 2 issue that many savvy retailers are facing.
As a Magento 2 extensions provider, to solve this problem, Mageplaza works hard to release one of the best technical solutions is using the Hreflang attribute. This feature now is available in Mageplaza SEO extension and is included in the Ultimate package.
What is Link Alternate tag and Hreflang attribute?
Link Alternate tag or
rel=”alternate” helps to reference to the targeted pages. This
rel=”alternate” is usually seen in the conjunction with the Hreflang attribute.
On the other hand, Hreflang attribute is introduced by Google in December 2011 and used to tell the search engines which language is using on a specific page. We can see this attribute as a signal for the search engines to notice which language version of pages should be displayed based on the user language and region preference.
You can find more details from the offical page of Google.
For instance, if you want to create the French version of your website, you can use the tag
rel="alternate" hreflang="fr-fr". As a result, if the searcher IP address is noticed to be from French, the Search Engines will have a reason to believe that they should display the French language version of your website instead of the original English version.
Hreflang attribute can be used multiple times for multiple languages. There are 3 ways to implement this attribute:
- HTML link element in the header
- HTTP header
Here is an example for using the Alternate tag and Hreflang atribute:
<link rel="alternate" href="yourstore.com/fr/" hreflang="fr-fr" />
<link rel="alternate" href="yourstore.com" hreflang="es-es" />
<link rel="alternate" href="yourstore.com/pt/" hreflang="pt-pt" />
1. Boost the Site ranking
Actually, Alternate tag and Hreflang attribute conjunction are not that helpful to increase the site traffic but it helps to improve the site ranking on the SERPs. Based on the search’s location and language reference, the search engines can display the content in the specific language searching. For the search engines, for example, Google, they can assume that site and its content are specifically relevant to the geographic area targeted and will prefer to bring up this site result with the higher ranking on SERPs in that area.
2. Avoid duplicate content
When you’re running a multilingual eCommerce website, you can have multiple pages with the same content but in different versions targeted to different users. However, the search engines may misunderstand and see those as the duplicate content and it will influence badly to your site ranking as well as the whole SEO performance. But thanks to the hreflang attribute, the search engines can be clear to understand those are different versions and prevent the bad result.
3. Improve the customer experience
The Link alternate tag and Hreflang attribute will help to site serve the right content to the right person and it’s definitely a pleasure experience for the shoppers. Using Hreflang attribute is one of the most effective solutions when you create the different content for the different local audiences and plays a critical part in growing your global business.