75% websites with multiple language versions, made at least one error in the implementation of hreflang attribute. This is indicated by the results of the SEMrush research.
The study examined 20 000 multilingual websites. At the same time 50 parameters were taken into account during the analysis. Each of these resources had at least 7 language versions at an average scale.
The goal was to attract the attention of SEO-experts to the errors of the language markup.
Below you can find the most common problems when using hreflang attribute that were identified upon the analysis:
• Hreflang-conflicts within the page source (58% of the websites)
o Lack of self-referencing hreflang attribute (96%);
o Conflicts between hreflang attributes and rel = canonical (52%);
o More than one URL is set to the same hreflang value (3%).
• Incorrect hreflang-links (37%)
o Hreflang-link directs to a page with a redirect 301 (66%);
o Hreflang-link directs to a page that returns a 4xx or 5xx status code (38%);
o Absolute links (15%) are not used.
• Problems connected with the hreflang values (15%)
o Wrong country code (45%);
o Wrong language code (40%);
o Only the country code is used (23%);
o Underline is used instead of dashes (20%);
o Invalid hrefland values order (3%).
• Hreflang option for one or more pages is not set (32%)
o Owners of multi-language websites often forget to register information about the language for some pages.
• The discrepancy between the language (21% of the pages)
o In these cases, the prescribed value of the language is different from the actual language of the text found on the page.
"An important part of the strategy for international SEO comprises of providing a suitable display of content written in a certain language and is intended for a specific country and is targeted for the right audience. In order to reach online users, you need to use hreflang properly and avoid mistakes described above", - the research results give the comment in SEMrush.
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