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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

<html> element must have a valid value for the lang attribute

Updated: Jul 8


Introduction

During a technical SEO audit of your website, we identified a significant issue related to the lang attribute in the <html> element. This document guides you through understanding and resolving this issue to improve your website's accessibility and compliance with SEO best practices.


What Is The Concern

The issue centers on the <html> element of your website either missing a lang attribute or having an incorrect one. This attribute is crucial for specifying the primary language of your website's content, which assists web browsers and assistive technologies like screen readers in processing your pages accurately.


Why Does This Matter

Setting a valid language attribute is essential because:

  • It allows assistive technologies to present your content in the correct language to users.

  • It helps search engines understand the linguistic context of your site, which can affect your site's visibility in search results.

  • It improves user experience, especially for non-English speakers or multilingual users.

How To Resolve

To correct this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Add or Correct the Language Attribute: Ensure your website's <html> tag includes a lang attribute that reflects the primary language of the content. For example, use <html lang="en"> for English.

  2. Handling Multilingual Content: If parts of your site are in different languages, use the lang attribute on specific elements to indicate their respective languages.

  3. Use Standard Language Codes: Employ ISO 639-1 language codes when specifying language values to ensure they are recognized by web browsers and assistive technologies.

  4. Additional Attributes for Special Cases: For content in languages that are read right-to-left, like Arabic or Hebrew, use the dir="rtl" attribute in addition to the lang attribute.

Further Resources

For more detailed information on implementing language attributes, consider the following resources:

Conclusion

Addressing the language attribute issue is critical for ensuring your website is accessible and user-friendly for all visitors. If you encounter challenges or have questions about implementing these changes, Loud Interactive is here to help. Our goal is to support you in enhancing your website's accessibility and overall performance.

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