HREFLang FAQ’s

Common Errors

HREFLang Return Tags are Missing is the most common error shown in Google Webmaster tools for sites that do not have all the pages mapped. Remember, each country/language page is an alternative of all the others so Google expects you to have all of them represented. If you have local sites with 20 pages each then each of the 20 pages on this site must be mapped to each other in order to pass the test.

In the meta element, each version must be listed on each others country language version.

In the XML site map, some of the free tools only create one direction versions and not multi direction which is the case of most of these errors.

Category:  Common Errors
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Another big batch of errors comes from the incorrect coding of language or region codes.   The two most common ones are designations for the United Kingdom and Japan. Nearly every website uses “/uk” to designate their UK pages. However, for the HREFLang element you must use the country/region ISO code for the UK, which is actually “GB.”

Similar problem with Japan, nearly every HREFLang developed for Japanese pages use JP, which is the country code, but the language code is “JA” and that is what must be used to designate Japanese language.
When developing your HREFLang elements ensure that you, or the tool you use, is correctly mapped to the language and country. You can validate this using the list of languages using ISO 6391-1 and for regions/countries which use the ISO 3166-1 format. There are many other smaller problems and nuances with the HREF element, and it is best that you review all of the criteria and understand the implications of using this element as explained by Google in their HREF Language Support page.

Another big batch of errors comes from the incorrect coding of language or region codes.   The two most common ones are designations for the United Kingdom and Japan. Nearly every website uses “/uk” to designate their UK pages. However, for the HREFLang element you must use the country/region ISO code for the UK, which is actually “GB.”

Similar problem with Japan, nearly every HREFLang developed for Japanese pages use JP, which is the country code, but the language code is “JA” and that is what must be used to designate Japanese language.

When developing your HREFLang elements ensure that you, or the tool you use, is correctly mapped to the language and country. You can validate this using the list of languages using ISO 6391-1 and for regions/countries which use the ISO 3166-1 format. There are many other smaller problems and nuances with the HREF element, and it is best that you review all of the criteria and understand the implications of using this element as explained by Google in their HREF Language Support page.

Category:  Common Errors
Tag: