Let's Talk

Contact UsLet's Talk Solution

    Google, SEO

    X-Default Google Hreflang Tag & When to Use It

    X-Default Google Hreflang Tag & When to Use It

    Google is one of the world’s most popular search engines used by many people for different IT-related purposes. A search engine is a program designed to retrieve information on a worldwide website. Other search engines include Safari from Apple, Opera from opera mini foundation, Mozilla firefox from Mozilla Foundation, UC Browser, and Netscape navigator from Netscape foundation.

    When information is retrieved from Google, it has the ability to detect and understand which language has been used, this is made possible through the use of the hreflang tag. This tag translated to rel=’alternate’ hreflang=’x’. This tag specifically points to country code and language variations which technology enables users to get the right information when they google something in their language using their browsers. That is usually variation in the language in different countries but all in all they end up referring to one common thing or phenomenon.

    Examples of such variations in British English and American English include rubber/eraser, mash/potatoes, loo/restroom, flat/apartment. Such examples make the browser invoke the use of this tag in order to enable them to understand it differently in different language setups.

    There are different ways in which this tag could be implemented, however, none of them has technical preference over one another. These ways include:

    HTTP Headers

    Link:http://www.examples.com/en-us/;rel=”alternate”;hreflang=”en-us” (USA)
    Link:http//www.examples.com/en-gb/;rel=”alternate”;hreflang=”en-gb” (United Kingdom)

    Link:http//www.examples.com/en-de/;rel=”alternate”;hreflang”en-de” (Dutch)

    Head section of an HTML document


    <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=http://www.example.com/”/> (Global, English)
    <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”http//www.example.com/”> (USA, English)
    <link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-gb” href=”http//www.examples.co.uk/”/> (UK, English)
    <link rel =”alternate hreflang=”en-de" href="http://www.examples.de/" /> (Dutch, English)
    <link rel =”alternate hreflang=”de-de” href="http://www.examples.de/" /> (Dutch, Dutch)


    The above mechanisms are mostly used to implement href tag in the google browser in order for it to understand different languages that the user may query.

    The following common mistakes out to be avoided when implementing the hreflang tag.

    Missing confirmation links: If a page links to page B must link back to page A. if this is not the case for all pages that use hreflang annotations, those annotations may be ignored or not interpreted correctly

    Incorrect language codes: Makes sure that all language codes you use the idea to link back to the form all language used

    What is X-default hreflang?

    This is used to specify the default page when no other page is better suited. For example, it would be the page google tries to show Spanish-speaking searchers worldwide or English-speaking searchers in Canada on google.ca.

    Another use for x-default is for home pages that are not targeted at a specific language but allow users to target at their specific countries instead.

    X-default hreflang is an HTML attribute that can be used to indicate the default language of a webpage. It is often used when a website is available in multiple languages, and it can help search engines and users determine which version of the site to display.

    When a page has X-default hreflang set, it will be displayed to users who do not have a specific language preference set in their browser or search engine settings. This can be useful for ensuring that all users see the same version of your site, regardless of their language preferences.

    How to implement or use X-default hreflang on a webpage?

    To set X-default hreflang on a webpage, you will need to add the following attribute to the <html> tag:

    <html lang="x-default">

    Be sure to replace “x-default” with the actual code for your default language. For example, if your site is in English, you would use “en” for the X-default hreflang value.

    It is also possible to set X-default hreflang on a per-page basis, rather than setting it globally for the entire website. This can be done by adding the X-default hreflang attribute to the <link> tag that points to the page in question. For example:

    <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page1.html" hreflang="x-default">

    This would indicate that the page at http://www.example.com/page1.html is the default version of the page, and it should be displayed to users who do not have a specific language preference set.

    X-default hreflang can be a useful way to ensure that all users see the same version of your site, regardless of their language preferences. It can also help search engines and users determine which version of your site to display. Be sure to add the X-default hreflang attribute to the <html> or <link> tags on your website to take advantage of this feature.

    Written by Aayush
    Writer, editor, and marketing professional with 10 years of experience, Aayush Singh is a digital nomad. With a focus on engaging digital content and SEO campaigns for SMB, and enterprise clients, he is the content creator & manager at SERP WIZARD.