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  • Writer's pictureBrent Payne

Has outgoing hreflang annotations using relative URLs

This means that the URL in question has hreflang annotations with at least one outgoing hreflang tag using a relative reference.


Why is this important?

Search engines use hreflang tags to comprehend the linguistic and geographical targeting of a page. They can properly index content when these tags are correctly implemented.


Relative URLs within hreflang tags carry the risk of future errors, even if they currently seem correct.


A situation where the hreflang element points to an incorrect or nonexistent URL will result in a disruption of the tag's consistency, leading to potential disregard by search engines.


What does the Optimization check?

The Optimization identifies URLs that possess hreflang annotations that include relative URL references.


Examples that trigger this Optimization:

Assuming this URL is the basis: https://example.com/page-b/en/

The Optimization would be activated for this basis URL if its hreflang annotations contained relative URLs:


<link rel="alternate" href="/page-b/fr/" hreflang="fr-fr" /><link rel="alternate" href="/page-b/es/" hreflang="es-es" />


How do you resolve this issue?

Issues like this may seem benign until they aren't. A future domain change or directory restructuring can disrupt all hreflang annotations, potentially going unnoticed until a significant drop in international visits occurs.

The recommendation would be to transition all relative hreflang URLs to their absolute counterparts.


Further Reading

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