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Google Combines Hreflang Signals from HTML & Sitemaps

When hreflang directives are implemented in a site’s HTML and sitemap, Google will combine them and use all signals.

Google’s John Mueller discusses how hreflang signals are handled when directives appear in a sitemap as well as on-page HTML.

The topic of potentially conflicting hreflang signals is discussed in the Google Search Central live stream.

Specifically, the following question is addressed:

“Let’s say we’ve implemented the correct hreflang using sitemaps, but because of some reason the web pages also have another set of hreflang in there, even though they’re not the most correct version.

I know that we have to try to minimize conflicting hreflang like this, so my question for you is how does Google actually treat conflicting hreflang?

Does Google prioritize the sitemaps over the on-page hreflang, or vice versa?”

Mueller first responds with a question of his own, asking what is meant by “conflicting” signals.

The person says the hreflang signals are conflicting in the sense that the directive is correct in the sitemap for US English users, but the source code for the same page has hreflang signals for US French.

Here’s how Google handles that type of situation.

Mueller on Conflicting Hreflang Signals

In cases where hreflang directives are included in the sitemap and the source code of web pages, Google will combine the signals.

Read more here.

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