What Does "No self-referencing hreflang tag" Mean?

URLs have at least one hreflang tag, but none of them link back to this page.

Hreflang is a way to tell search engines that there are multiple versions of a page in different languages. This will help search engines serve visitors the most appropriate version of each URL by language or region.

Here's an example of hreflang tags for https://example.com/en-us/products, which is an English page targeting visitors in the United States that also has an English version targeting United Kingdom, a French version, a German version, and a default version available:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="https://example.com/en-us/products" />

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="https://example.com/en-gb/products" />

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="https://example.com/fr/products" />

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://example.com/de/products" />

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="https://example.com/products" />

If implementing hreflang, it's important that the page also specifies which language/region the URL itself represents too. The URLs listed on this page are missing this self-referencing hreflang link.

Why It's Important

If hreflang tags are set incorrectly, search engines may ignore the tag completely. If this happens, it's possible search engines will get confused and the wrong version of the page could be ranked in a particular region or language.

For example, visitors from the UK could be served links to the US version of the page on search engines, or visitors from France could be served links to the Switzerland version.

How To Fix

Thankfully this issue is relatively easy to resolve. Add an hreflang tag with the href attribute set to this URL and the hreflang attribute set to the appropriate language/region this page targets.

For example, if the page is "https://example.com/de/products", and the content is targeting visitors in the German language in all regions, we would add the following code to the page:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="https://example.com/de/products" />

Hreflang can be complicated. We recommend carefully reading Google's guidelines on hreflang and testing thoroughly before implementing any changes.

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