Google Combines Hreflang Signals from HTML & Sitemaps

Google’s John Mueller discusses how hreflang alerts are treated when directives seem in a sitemap in addition to on-page HTML.

The subject of doubtless conflicting hreflang alerts is mentioned within the Google Search Central are living flow from November 27.

Specifically, the next query is addressed:

“Let’s say we’ve implemented the correct hreflang using sitemaps, but because of some reason the web pages also have another set of hreflang in there, even though they’re not the most correct version.

I know that we have to try to minimize conflicting hreflang like this, so my question for you is how does Google actually treat conflicting hreflang?

Does Google prioritize the sitemaps over the on-page hreflang, or vice versa?”

Mueller first responds with a query of his personal, asking what is supposed by “conflicting” alerts.


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The particular person says the hreflang alerts are conflicting within the sense that the directive is proper within the sitemap for US English customers, however the supply code for a similar web page has hreflang alerts for US French.

Here’s how Google handles that form of state of affairs.

Mueller on Conflicting Hreflang Signals

In circumstances the place hreflang directives are incorporated within the sitemap and the supply code of internet pages, Google will mix the alerts.

“What would happen there is we would combine those. From our point of view hreflang is not something where we say you can only have one language or country version on one page, but rather you can have multiple country versions on the same page.

And you can have multiple different levels. So you could say this is the page for English in Singapore, English in US, English in UK, and you have a different page for English in Australia, for example.

You can have one page with multiple country/regional targeting on them. So if you have some hreflang in the HTML, and some in the sitemap, then we would try to combine that and add that together.

That means that if you have multiple different country versions across those different things we would just combine that into one setup.”


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There is one exception to this rule, and that’s if the alerts don’t seem to be in sync with every different.

Meaning one nation model of an hreflang directive seems at the web page, however that very same directive is assigned to another web page within the sitemap.

Here’s how Mueller places it:

“The one place where it would get confusing, or where we would see it as conflicting is if you have one country language version on the page and you use the same country language version for a different page in the sitemap file. That’s one situation where our systems would probably have to guess.”

As some distance as which directives are extra necessary between hreflang in HTML and hreflang in a sitemap, Mueller provides that Google does no longer prioritize one over the opposite.

If conflicting alerts are came upon in the way in which Mueller describes within the above quote, then Google will drop the alerts somewhat than taking one over the opposite.

“As far as I know we don’t have any prioritization where we say sitemaps are better than HTML, or better than the headers. But rather we would see this doesn’t work and we would probably drop that pair [of conflicting signals].”

Hear the whole query and resolution within the video beneath:

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