Having a website translated in multiple languages will help us reach a wider audience, but poses some challenges regarding the SEO. To have a proper multilingual SEO, we need to set up hreflang attributes in each version of our website. Let's see how to add hreflang in WordPress.
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What is hreflang
Google introduced rel="alternate" hreflang in 2010.
The hreflang attribute on a page signals that there is a related page in an alternative language, at a specified URL. The search engines use this information to serve the correct language or regional URL in the search results.
Using hreflang is useful not only for different languages but also for regional variations of the same language. This way, if our website has a US and a UK version, users from the United States and the United Kingdom will get the proper search results for their region. This separation is especially important for websites such as e-shops, that use dollars in the US version and pounds in the UK version.
For more information, you can check the Google Search Console Help entry for hreflang.
Add hreflang in WordPress with Language Selector Related
Language Selector Related is an excellent free WordPress plugin that will cover our hreflang needs even if different languages of our website are on different hosting or a different WordPress installation.
To install the Language Selector Related, we need to go to Plugins -> Add New...
...search for "Language Selector Related" and install it. It isn't a very popular plugin, but it's great for multilingual SEO.
After we activate the plugin, on the editor of each post we will find the "Configure related links" widget.
It's just a matter of adding the alternate URL and set the language. Selecting a country is optional.
If we have more than one alternate languages, we just add as many related links as we need.
From now on, this particular post will include the rel="alternate" hreflang in the page code.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to automate this procedure for all pages and posts. We need to add manually the alternate URLs and set the language or languages.
Did Language Selector Related improve your multilingual SEO?
Setting the rel="alternate" hreflang won't show results immediately. But it will eventually make a difference in our multilingual SEO, helping us rank higher on languages we might have trouble doing so - provided of course that we have good content.
If you did see a difference on your website's multilingual SEO after setting the hreflang attribute, leave us a comment.
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