Has outgoing hreflang annotations to redirecting URLs

This means that the URL in question has at least one outgoing hreflang annotation which is redirected to another URL.

Why is this important?

Hreflang tags are interpreted by search engines as indexing instructions. An English page that has hreflang pointing at its French alternate is instructing search engines to index both the English version and the French version, and to consider each as equivalent in their respective languages.

If this French page URL redirects to another URL, this is a conflicting indexing instruction. The hreflang is saying 'please index this URL as the French equivalent', and the redirect is saying 'don't index this URL, instead index this other one.'

This type of conflicting instruction serves to confuse search engines, to the point where they may ignore the hreflang entirely.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any URL which contains hreflang annotations, where at least one of the hreflang URLs redirects.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

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

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it included an hreflang annotation:

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

where this hreflang page had a 301 (Permanent Redirect) header response:

HTTP/... 301 Moved Permanently

...

Similarly, URLs with other 'redirect' statuses will trigger the Hint (i.e. any other 3XX response).

How do you resolve this issue?

The problem with this sort of conflicting instruction is that it is not instantly obvious which page is causing the error. Either the hreflang is wrong or the redirect should not be there.

To resolve this issue, it starts with figuring out which is the correct hreflang URL, which may require manual inspection.

Once you have established this, it should be straightforward to work out the next step:

  • If the hreflang URL is correct, then the redirect is incorrect, and should be removed.
  • If the hreflang URL is incorrect, then the outgoing hreflang annotations should be corrected so they point to the correct URL (with a 200 status).

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