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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Has outgoing hreflang annotations to noindex URLs

The URL under consideration has at least one external hreflang link that is marked as noindex.


Why is this important?

Search engines view hreflang tags as signals for indexing preferences. When an English webpage uses hreflang to point to its French variant, it informs search engines to index both the English and French versions as corresponding pages in their specific language environments.


Should the French variant contain a meta noindex, it would signal the search engine not to include that French page in its index.


Hence, the hreflang tag instructs 'index the French page,' while the noindex says 'do not index the French page'. This mix-up could lead to a scenario where search engines disregard the hreflang directive entirely.


What does the Optimization check?

This Optimization initiates for any URL displaying hreflang references, with at least one hreflang URL marked noindex.


Note:This Optimization closely resembles another: Noindex URL has incoming hreflang. The main difference is that this Optimization reviews pages with an outbound hreflang, while the other inspects the destination of an hreflang link.


Examples that trigger this Optimization:


This URL would trigger the Optimization if it contains the following hreflang tag:

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


and the corresponding hreflang page contains:

<!DOCTYPE html><html lang="en"><head>   <title>example</title>   <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">   <link rel="alternate" href="https://example.com/us/page-a/" hreflang="en-us" />   ...</head><body>...</body></html>


OR within the HTTP header:

HTTP/... 200 OK...X-Robots-Tag: noindex


How do you resolve this issue?

The status of 'Critical' suggests there are significant problems that could negatively impact organic search performance. Addressing these critical concerns swiftly is highly advised.


To resolve these conflicts, assuming the hreflang is appropriately implemented, the noindex needs to be removed from any hreflang pages.


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