Has hreflang annotations using multiple methods

This means that the URL in question has hreflang annotations defined using more than one method (HTML, HTTP Header or XML Sitemap)

Why is this important?

Hreflang annotations can be defined using 3 different methods - HTML, HTTP Header or XML Sitemap. It is considered best practice to only specify hreflang using a single method on any given URL. This is because using multiple methods makes the configuration more open to human error.

Imagine you implement hreflang on a page, using BOTH a tag in the <head> and in the HTTP header. Some time passes, and you move to a new domain. You change the hreflang in the <head> but completely forget about the existence of the hreflang in the HTTP header, and so do not change it.

This sort of inconsistency would lead to search engines ignoring the hreflang instruction. And while it may not be an issue right now, the use of multiple methods means it may become an issue in the future.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any URL which has outgoing hreflang defined using multiple methods.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/en/page-a/

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it had outgoing hreflang defined using at least 2 of the 3 methods below;

1. Hreflang in the HTML <head>:

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

2. Hreflang in HTTP Header:

HTTP/... 200 OK

...
Link: <https://example.com/fr/page-a/>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="fr-fr",
<https://example.com/es/page-a/>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="es-es",
<https://example.com/de/page-a/>; rel="alternate"; hreflang="de-de"

3. Hreflang in an XML Sitemap:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
xmlns:xhtml="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<url>
<loc>https://example.com/en/page-a/</loc>
<xhtml:link
rel="alternate"
hreflang="fr-fr"
href="https://example.com/fr/page-a/"/>
<xhtml:link
rel="alternate"
hreflang="es-es"
href="https://example.com/es/page-a/"/>
<xhtml:link
rel="alternate"
hreflang="de-de"
href="https://example.com/de/page-a/"/>
</url>
...
</urlset>

How do you resolve this issue?

Decide on the most appropriate hreflang method (e.g. easiest to maintain in future) and remove all other methods.

Further Reading

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