What Are Hreflang Tags and Are They Necessary for Shopify Stores in 2024?

Rob Elgar - Writer for Egnition
By Rob Elgar
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Joel Taylor
Fact-check by Joel Taylor

Published July 3, 2024.

Computer screen open to the Shopify website

Introduced by Google in 2011, hreflang tags, also known as rel="alternate" hreflang="x" allow search engines to identify a website's language and optional geographic limitations for a page.

Hreflang tags allow you to create different versions of the same page and deliver them to readers in their assumed language.

How Hreflang Tags Support Your Shopify Store's SEO

Hreflang tags show search engines that there are different versions of a page, as well as which version may be the most appropriate for the reader. This is important if you want to expand your store's reach to different languages as well as if you want to create region-specific pages.

The HTML tag is placed in a <link> element and then inside the <head> element. By doing this, you'll be able to create different versions of the same page, not only with language but also with products, visuals, and layout. It's important to add a new rel="alternate" hreflang="x" for each version of your page. This could look something as follows:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="{language 1}-{region1}" href="{reference web page}"

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="{language 2}-{region2}" href="{reference web page}"

Using an example page and region, this could look as follows:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-ca" href="https://your-store-url.ca"

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de-de" href="https://your-store-url.de"

Your store may be created in English and targeted at North America, which will show specific "US-based" products. The same page found by a customer searching from Germany will show the site in German, as well as any region-specific changes you have made (such as available products, color schemes, pictures, etc.).

Also, ensure that your Shopify page has effective product organization, custom filters, and product handles. Coupled with correctly-used hreflang tags, your store will provide a seamless customer experience, thereby boosting traffic, reducing bounce rates, and increasing sales due to a wider available audience.

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