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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Has outgoing hreflang annotation to multiple URLs

This means that a specific web address showcases hreflang annotations pointing to several distinct URLs with the same hreflang, creating discord among the annotations.


Why is this important?

Search engines use hreflang tags as directives for indexing. For example, an English webpage with an hreflang reference to its French variant is telling search engines to index both the English and French versions, acknowledging each as parallel in their respective language interfaces.


The issue arises when, for instance, an English URL cites both a French and a Spanish URL with the hreflang for French-France (fr-fr). This duplication introduces ambiguity in determining which URL is the accurate French version.

When faced with such mixed signals, search engines may disregard the hreflang guidance completely.


What does the Optimization check?

This Optimization is triggered whenever a URL showcases several outgoing hreflang tags with matching hreflang values yet differing URLs.


Note: This Optimization closely mirrors the Optimization for "Has conflicting incoming hreflang annotations". The distinction lies in that this Optimization analyzes the originating page of the hreflang (outgoing), and the other Optimization pertains to the target page (incoming).


Examples that trigger this Optimization:

Consider the web address: https://example.com/en/page-a/

This URL would provoke the Optimization due to the clashing outgoing hreflang:


<link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/fr/page-a/" hreflang="fr-fr" /><link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/es/page-a/" hreflang="fr-fr" />


How do you resolve this issue?

Firstly, ensure that each hreflang is distinctly referenced once. Secondly, ameliorate the hreflang conflicts.


To address the inaccuracy, one must discern which annotation is erroneous. Afterwards, it may be necessary to either manually adjust the URLs or rectify the script generating these tags, depending on the website's configuration.

The end goal is a clear and unambiguous hreflang annotation for every intended URL.

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