Although hreflang is more popular nowadays, browsers and search engines still utilize HTML language attributes. You can learn all about the theories behind the hreflang and HTML lang declarations by watching this video:
When developing a site, it’s essential to indicate the localized versions of your page for easier identification by Google. You can follow these steps to do so.
The language attributes of your website are some of the major factors in SEO. Since others still use HTML lang, it’s best to use both hreflang and HTML lang attributes in your site. This will help your site perform better in the search.
What Does “Hreflang and Lang Attributes” Mean?
Hreflang and lang attributes are the languages tags you include on your site. These attributes ensure that the site and its content will appear in the language users understand by switching to alternate pages versions. Although Google might not be using the HTML lang attribute today, other search engines and browsers do. However, some developers and site owners only use the hreflang tag since it’s more common nowadays, even if this isn’t any hreflang vs. HTML lang battle.
What Triggers the Issue?
The main implementation issue is when hreflang is well-defined, but the HTML lang is missing. The issue is triggered when developers or owners forget to check if their pages have language (language and country) code declared in the HTML lang attribute.
How to Check the Issue?
You can easily check for this issue via your browser by following these steps:
- Open the source code of your page by right-clicking your mouse and choosing “View Page Source”.
- In the new browser tab, check if there are any tags.
- See if there is the lang attribute in these tags.
You can also use an online checker that will automatically detect and look for the HTML lang attribute in your site’s source code.
Hreflang defined but HTML lang missing check is good for your website but not enough to get good SERP positions!
To detect not only the issue but other kind of site level and page level problems, just make the full site audit.
Why Is This Important?
As previously mentioned, even if Google and Yandex use hreflang in defining localized versions of site pages, other search engines, like Bing, use the value set and attributes for HTML lang. Failure to include HTML lang would prevent the page’s important content from being displayed in localized versions. It is also important to ensure that users can enjoy your page in their language with their preferred browser or search engine.
How to Fix the Issue?
You need to make sure your pages have the language (or language and country) code declared in the HTML lang attribute. However, note that the language code must conform to ISO 639-1 format.