We recently published a webinar special, looking into the challenges with International SEO and how that impacts areas such as website structure, content and brand strategy.

Today we’re zeroing in on one of the topics discussed as part of the webinar: What is Hreflang, and what’s the best way to implement it?

Jump straight this question in the webinar video below:

'For an international website, #Hreflang is a must, no question about that.' @LukaszZelezny Click To Tweet


DAVID BAIN: Okay, great. You’re all offering so much information here. It’s difficult to actually cover everything regarding international SEO, but it’s a big subject, of course, as well. I’ll tell you what, though. To conclude, let’s try and cover even more by a bit of a quick-fire round, and asking you all individually one question in relation to a particular element in international SEO. Then after that, we’ll conclude by getting you to think about one thing that our viewers need to take away, and particularly focus on or implement from our discussion. The one initial question for Lukasz. How would you define Hreflang, and what’s the best way to implement it?

LUKASZ ZELEZNY: How to define it. I know where you’re going with this question. Is this suggestion, or directives? Was this like that? Let me do, again, this kind of parallel to something we know how, what the flavour is. Let me compare Hreflang with canonical tag. I feel like Hreflang is stronger than canonical tag; however, something that is similar to canonical tag is that lots of people are doing these tags with implementation.

I had a conversation with my friend, Martina a year ago, and she was like, ‘Well, everybody’s talking about Hreflang, but nobody knows how to implement this. Did you notice this?’ She was from an agency, so she knows that this is the problem that they had from the agency side when they are dealing with customers. Again, when you have, these days, international website, Hreflang is a must. It’s a must, and no questions about that.

So I would say it’s much stronger than just a suggestion. It’s more like a directive, and strongly advised by search engines. It’s been created to help us users master…to make this point, and also make life of the search engine easer.

DAVID BAIN: Okay. Two other small question in relation to that. Is it better including it in the header, XML map, both, or does it not matter? Also, there is one other question as well. I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you answer that one first, and I’ll have a think about the second one.

LUKASZ ZELEZNY: I am a fan of header. It’s a nice concept of keeping all these things that really matter, but I’m not typically about was is in the body section. So I would rather suggest, in the first place, to keep this in the head of the page. If you really want a site map…I’m not a big fan of the site map. I feel that site map is more of less like kind of a suggestion. It’s not something obligatory. I’m sorry I you guys don’t agree with me, but I think it’s much more important to keep this in the head.

DAVID BAIN: Okay, that’s interesting actually. The other thing I was going to ask you was, should you self-reference pages in Hreflang as well? Or is it okay to reference just the other pages that are the country versions of the page that you’re on?

LUKASZ ZELEZNY: I feel like it’s not a problem to self-reference. I would self-reference without any doubts.

Remember to watch the full international SEO webinar recording here.