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A hreflang checker to enhance your international SEO

Utilize Sitebulb’s comprehensive hreflang validator to maximize your opportunities in international markets.

Jan-Willem Bobbink

Jan-Willem Bobbink

International SEO Consulant

Sitebulb is a great addition to my SEO Toolbox. It combines all the unique features of other tools into one powerhouse platform.

Check every single hreflang annotation

Sitebulb offers the most comprehensive hreflang checker of any crawler on the planet. The crawler will find and check every hreflang variation, even if this means crawling multiple domains and parsing hundreds of sitemaps. It will pull all the data together, then give you specific recommendations to fix your hreflang configuration issues.

See the complete picture

There are a myriad of ways to set up hreflang markup – sitemaps or HTTP headers, subfolders or ccTLDs – so you really need to check all of them if you want the complete picture of your internationalization efforts.

Every single alternate URL found while crawling gets added to the crawl scheduler and then gets crawled itself – whether found in the HTTP header, in a sitemap, or in the HTML. This includes URLs that exist on separate domains or subdomains (e.g. a ccTLD like

Sitebulb actually goes beyond this, and also checks the HTML lang tag, so you can see if there is a mismatch in the language declarations.

Sitebulb ensures you will always have the full dataset in order to make the right recommendations.

Hreflang and HTML lang breakdowns

Reciprocal and self-referential

Hreflang is designed to be both reciprocal and self-referential. These are fancy words for really simple concepts:

  • Reciprocal – if you link to a page as your Spanish translation, the Spanish page must also link back (these are often called ‘return tags’).
  • Self-referential – if a page happens to be your Spanish version, it must declare itself as the Spanish version.

If you mess up either of these, Google will ignore the hreflang annotation. Sitebulb will tell you every instance you miss either of these important tags.

Hreflang and International Hints and issues

Hreflang validation

Hreflang must use a valid format in order to be counted. The means that countries must be declared using the ISO 3166-1 standard, and languages must be declared using the ISO-639-1 standard. Declaring a country or language that does not appear in these lists would be an example of invalid hreflang (e.g. ‘en-uk’ instead of ‘en-gb’ for an English page targeted to the UK).

Sitebulb will check validity amongst a range of other quality checks:

  • Hreflang links are not broken or redirected
  • Correct syntax has been used (e.g. mixing up the order of language and country)
  • There is no conflict between hreflang and rel=canonical or noindex

Hreflang Validity

Uniqueness and consistency

When using hreflang markup, each URL may only have a single, unique association. Similarly, all other hreflang markup on other pages or sitemaps must refer to this URL as consistently the same.

With multiple sitemaps or subdomains to manage, it is easy for inconsistencies to creep in, giving the likes of Google mixed messages about your translated content.

Sitebulb will identify any duplications or inconsistent references throughout your sites and sitemaps.

Sitebulb Desktop

Find, fix and communicate technical issues with easy visuals, in-depth insights, & prioritized recommendations across 300+ SEO issues.

  • Ideal for SEO professionals, consultants & marketing agencies.

Sitebulb Cloud

Get all the capability of Sitebulb Desktop, accessible via your web browser. Crawl at scale without project, crawl credit, or machine limits.

  • Perfect for collaboration, remote teams & extreme scale.