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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Has outgoing hreflang annotations to broken URLs

The URL in question has at least one outgoing hreflang annotation which returned as Not Found (4XX) or Error (5XX).


Why is this important?

Because this suggests that hreflang equivalent URLs are non-functional, indicating that the annotation might be flawed or the corresponding page has been eliminated.


Lack of accessibility to hreflang URLs could prevent search engines from discovering them or lead to disregard of the hreflang directive, potentially resulting in search results that are incorrectly localized.


What does the Optimization check?

This Optimization will be activated for any internal URL with hreflang annotations, where at least one of the hreflang URLs returns as Not Found (4XX) or Error (5XX).


Examples that trigger this Optimization:

Take for instance the URL: https://example.com/page-a/

The Optimization would activate for this URL if it contains an hreflang annotation:

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


and the hreflang page replied with a 500 (Internal Server Error) during Loud Interactive’s crawl:

HTTP/... 500 Internal Server Error...


or if the hreflang page returned with a 404 (Not Found) header response during the crawl:

HTTP/... 404 Not Found...


URLs with differing 'error' status codes will also initiate the Optimization (any 4XX or 5XX responses).


How do you resolve this issue?

First, verify the accuracy of the hreflang URL to ensure the problem is not due to an error in typing or a flaw in scripting.


Confirm that the URL being pointed to is indeed the intended one and that it successfully returns a 200 (OK) HTTP status code. If the page has been removed, as suggested by a 404 or 410 status, the page needs to be located and republished.


5XX errors imply server problems rather than issues with the website or a particular URL. They prevent both search engines and users from accessing your site, making it crucial to uncover and understand the reasons behind these server issues, possibly requiring consultation with a developer or server administrator.

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