Set up hreflang tags

1. Identify and create a list of pages on your site with multiple language variations and add them to a spreadsheet.

You can do this with a tool like Screaming Frog, by exporting your website data from the CMS, or with a tool like Google Analytics. Add the full-page URLs to a single column and make note of the language variation for each URL.

2. Use a tool like Hreflang Tags Generator to generate hreflang tags and insert them into the section of the HTML code for each page on your list.

Your tags should look like this, with replaced with your domain and en and de replaced by the code for your language variations: Alternatively, you can use specialized plugins to add hreflang tags to pages built using certain CMS platforms, like MultilingualPress for WordPress. Adding more than 10 hreflang tags to a page can slow it down. Instead, add hreflang tags to your XML sitemap if you have variations in 10 or more languages, or need to add hreflang tags to many pages.

3. Add hreflang tags to HTTP headers to specify language variations for non-HTML content like PDFs and images.

For example: Link: ; rel="alternate"; hreflang="en", ; rel="alternate"; hreflang="de" The method you use to add hreflang tags to your HTTP headers depends on the platform or web server you use. Reach out to your web developer or web host to add hreflang tags to your HTTP headers.

4. Add canonical tags before hreflang tags to tell search engines which version of a page they should index to avoid duplicate content issues.

For example, for the UK English version of site with multiple English language variations, you could use: This ensures that the right variation shows up in search results when a user searches from a region that uses en-gb. Repeat this step for all other language variations in their respective pages.

5. Use a tool like Hreflang Sitemap Tool to generate a hreflang XML sitemap for pages that have many language variations or large sites and upload it to your web server’s root directory.

Use an FTP client to upload the generated sitemap to your web server’s root directory. For example, A hreflang XML sitemap is often the easiest and quickest way to add hreflang tags to your site. It’s particularly useful when you have pages in many languages and it prevents hreflang tags from affecting page load speed.