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How to audit hreflang on a website with multiple languages

  • The validation of hreflang has been implemented in Netpeak Spider 3.5. This feature includes:

    • two new parameters (in the ‘Head tags’ group)
    • nine issue reports related to hreflang configuration
    • two extra large (XL) reports in the ‘Export’ menu
    • seven special issue reports 
    • new option on the ‘Overview’ tab
    • new pie chart on the ‘Dashboard’

1. What this feature is for

Hreflang validation allows you to check whether this attribute was set correctly on your website or not.

The program will analyze hreflang on webpages and display reports of nine issues if they are found during crawling. You can also view all found attributes on the website pages in the ‘Database’ module and export two new reports from the ‘Export’ menu – ‘All hreflang URLs’ and ‘Hreflang summary’.

To activate this feature, go to the ‘Settings’ → ‘Advanced’ and tick the ‘Hreflang’ option.

Tick the Hreflang option

2. Hreflang parameters

Select options in the ‘Hreflang’ checkbox that can be found in the sidebar on the ‘Parameters’ tab.

Hreflang parameters

 Hreflang Language Code

Language code of the current page from the hreflang attribute in the <link rel=”alternate” /> tag of the <head> section or HTTP response header ‘Link: rel=”alternate”.

• Hreflang Links

The number of alternate language URLs in the hreflang attribute in the <link rel=”alternate” /> tag of the <head> section or HTTP response header ‘Link: rel=”alternate”.

3. New issue reports on hreflang

Now Netpeak Spider can detect 9 potential issues related to hreflang configuration. Here is the list of them:

• Hreflang: Missing Self-Reference

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing links with hreflang attributes to other pages but not to the current URL in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"'.

• Hreflang: Incorrect Language Codes

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing links in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"' with hreflang language code non-compliant with ISO 639-1, ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2 and ISO 15924. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table.

• Hreflang: Relative Links

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing relative links with hreflang attributes in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"'. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table.

• Hreflang: Duplicate Language Codes

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing links to several different URLs with the same hreflang value in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"'. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table.

• Hreflang: Links to Non-Compliant URLs

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing links in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"' with hreflang attributes pointing to non-compliant URLs. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table. Note that to detect this issue you have to enable crawling of Hreflang on the 'Advanced' tab of crawling settings.

• Hreflang: Missing Confirmation Links

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing outgoing links with hreflang attributes. However, there are no corresponding incoming links with this attribute. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table.

• Hreflang: Inconsistent Language Code in Confirmation Links

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files with the language code ('Hreflang language code' parameter) that is not consistent with the language code of incoming hreflang links. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table. Note that to detect this issue you have to enable crawling of Hreflang on the 'Advanced' tab of crawling settings.

• Hreflang: Missing Alternate URLs

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files without hreflang links in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"'. At the same time, other website pages do contain such links.

• Hreflang: Duplicate Alternate URLs

Indicates HTML pages or PDF files containing several links to one URL with different hreflang value in the <link rel="alternate" /> tag or HTTP response header 'Link: rel="alternate"'. To view a special report on this issue, press the 'Issue report' button over the main table.

You can also export important reports of issues related to hreflang via the ‘Export’ menu above the sidebar.

New issue reports on hreflang

4. Specifics of work

4.1. Netpeak Spider automatically detects hreflang attribute in HTML content and in HTTP response headers. The program identically processes and merges them in reports.

4.2. Current version of Netpeak Spider does not take into account hreflang links from a sitemap. This feature will be implemented in the next version of the program.

4.3. The ‘Hreflang’ option in the ‘Advanced’ settings does not consider the ‘Crawl all subdomains’ and ‘Crawl external links’ items, so if these are disabled and ‘Hreflang’ is activated, the program will anyway crawl hreflangs located in subdomains and external links.

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