Many websites serve users from around the world, with content that's translated, or targeted to users in a certain region. The
rel="alternate" hreflang="x"annotations help Google serve the correct language or regional URL to searchers. More information about multi-regional and multilingual sites.
Some example scenarios where
rel="alternate" hreflang="x"is recommended:
- You translate only the template of your page, such as the navigation and footer, and keep the main content in a single language. This is common on pages that feature user-generated content, like a forum post.
- Your pages have broadly similar content within a single language, but the content has small regional variations. For example, you might have English-language content targeted at readers in the US, GB, and Ireland.
- Your site content is fully translated. For example, you have both German and English versions of each page.
Using rel="alternate" hreflang="x"
Imagine you have an English language page hosted at http://www.example.com/, with a Spanish alternative at http://es.example.com/. You can indicate to Google that the Spanish URL is the Spanish-language equivalent of the English page in one of three ways:
If you have multiple language versions of a URL, each language page in the set must use
rel="alternate" hreflang="x"to identify the other language versions. For example, if your site provides content in French, English, and Spanish, the Spanish version must include a
rel="alternate" hreflang="x"link to both the English and the French versions, and the English and French versions must each include a similar link pointing to each other and to the Spanish site.
If you have several alternate URLs targeted at users with the same language but in different locales, it's a good idea to provide a generic URL for geographically unspecified users. For example, you may have specific URLs for English speakers in Ireland (
en-ie), Canada (
en-ca), and Australia (
en-au), but want all other English speakers to see your generic English (
en) page. In this case you should specify the generic English-language (
en) page for searchers in, say, the UK.
hreflang supported values
The value of the
hreflangattribute identifies the language (in ISO 6391-1 format) and optionally the region (in ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 format) of an alternate URL. For example:
de: German content, independent of region
en-GB: English content, for GB users
de-ES: German content, for users in Spain
For language script variations the proper script is derived from the country. For example, when using zh-TW for users
zh-TW, the language script is automatically derived (in this example: Chinese-Traditional). You can also specify the script itself explicitly using ISO 15924, like this:
zh-Hant: Chinese (Traditional)
zh-Hans: Chinese (Simplified)
Alternatively, you can also specify a combination of script and region—for example, use
zh-Hans-TWto specify Chinese (Simplified) for Taiwanese users.