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What Are Keywords? (and Why You Need to Know How to Find Them)

What do you do when you have a question or want to find something? Quickly.

If you’re like most, you open your laptop or unlock your phone, pull up a web browser, and head for the search bar. Once you say or type a few words and hit “enter,” you browse the results until you click on a page that looks promising. After the page loads, lo and behold: the answer you need.

The words you type into search engines play a role in how easily you find a blog or web page- and the same goes for the way people find your website. If you want people to find your website, you must understand what keywords are, why they matter, and best practices for how to find them. In this post, you will learn how to do so successfully and strengthen your content strategy on your own (search) terms.

Navigate to what you need to know first about keywords:

What are keywords?

Why are keywords important?

What are good keywords?

Considerations for Choosing a Keyword

How many keywords should I use?

How to Find Keywords the Right Way

How to Create Unique Content Through Niche Keywords

For instance, if you were to type “bikes” into a search engine, the results would show a variety of results that correlate with those keywords:

Here, the term “bikes” is an example of a short keyword; you can count on keyword lengths to fall into two categories:

Short keywords that contain one or two terms
Long-tail keywords that contain typically three or more terms

As a result, short keywords are generally on broad topics, while long-tail keywords are all about specificity. Take a look at what a long-tail version of “bikes” would look like if you search “mountain bikes for beginners”:

Therefore, understanding which type of keywords to use on your website or blog requires performing some investigation. As you begin your keyword research, you will start to discern the difference between picking a related keyword and writing for a user’s intent.

The 3 Common Types of Search Intent

Behind every keyword is the reason the user makes the search query in the first place. This is known as search intent which falls into 3 categories: informational, navigational, and transactional.

Take a look at your keyword and think about what the user is really asking by making their query:

If they were to search, “what are nfts” they are feasibly looking for informational content that will explain this topic in detail.
If they look up “nft marketplace” they are likely searching for navigational content to take them to NFT platforms.
If they type “best nfts to buy now” they are probably trying to find transactional content that will help them complete a purchase decision.

By speaking to the “why” of the search query, you can tailor each content page to fully provide value to the user and deliver the best possible experience. But to fully grasp how to provide this value, you need to know the impact of keywords and why they matter to your website in the first place.

Now, while keywords are still useful tools for conceptualizing and planning your content strategy, their effectiveness is entirely rooted in context.

For instance, say you’ve written SEO blogs about the various aspects of software. If you have been fleshing out a topic cluster to demonstrate your content authority, Google will have the context it needs when ranking websites like yours.


The keywords you include on your pillar and cluster pages will guide you to produce content on a range of user interests. But with the paradox of choice, how do you choose a good keyword? Your decision will depend on the marketing channel you’re writing for and your short or long-term goals.

Let’s dive into how to define good keywords across SEO and PPC channels to put you in the best position to benefit from your content.

What are good keywords?

What qualifies as a good keyword in SEO is different from what makes for the right target in PPC. But how do SEO keywords differ from keywords for PPC on the SERP?

Understanding this difference takes learning how to use SEO and PPC keywords to your website’s advantage.

Using Keywords in SEO

A good SEO keyword strikes the ideal balance between keyword volume, competition, relevance, and intent based on your website’s authority. Therefore, adding keywords that encompass these factors, will allow you to rank and drive traffic long-term.

Plus, because SEO keywords are free- to rank for and when users click on your content- you can receive high value from the content you produce.

While the roster ranges both on and off the page, SEO content includes:

Blogs
Articles
Website copy
Metadata like title tags or meta descriptions

Unlike the other forms, the keywords in metadata aren’t ranking factors. But best practices are to include your targeted keyword in the title tag and description. Take a look at how metadata appears on the SERP with the title tags outlined in red and descriptions in blue below: What’s special about finding the right keywords, is that it allows you to write rich content around what people are interested in and satisfy Google’s E.A.T. principle — a major Google core update from 2019. Your keywords will be your guide to writing a piece that meets a search engine like Google’s expectations of:

Expertise
Authoritativeness
Trustworthiness

So before you dive into finding keywords, start by thinking about the topics that matter to your website. What are some things your audience may be searching for that would lead them to you? Have some ideas in mind? Start there.

Using Keywords in PPC

On the other side of Search are PPC keywords. PPC keywords are terms you choose to rank for in order to increase brand visibility and foster website growth. You can bid on your keyword choices, and when you win your bids, you will rank at the top of the SERP like these businesses below:

So, you can use keywords to create PPC ads promoting your products or services through platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. Then, when users select your ad, you pay for every click you receive.

Now, there are two main types of PPC keywords:

Branded keywords are words and phrases that include your brand’s name. Their purpose is to attract customers in your audience that are near a purchase decision.
Non-branded keywords are words or phrases that do not include your brand name. They help you gain new customers who may be searching for what you offer but do not know it yet.

Essentially, pay-per-click advertising generates immediate traffic that can convert into leads or sales. Subsequently, these conversions deliver a faster return on investment for the money and time you put into your ads. You will use PPC keywords to tailor your content to the audiences you decide to target.

When it comes down to when to apply SEO versus PPC advertising, it depends on your business goals. Will your business benefit from the long-term impact of Organic Search or the short-term results of Paid Search? While you contemplate this, remember SEO content concentrates on providing value to the reader, while PPC content focuses on promoting your products or services.

Still, the tricky part is that the internet is a busy place — making it virtually impossible to be the only person writing about any given topic. So even if you create rich content with keywords and provide the context for search engines to understand it, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Well, this is where the following keyword considerations come into play.

Considerations for Choosing a Keyword

Monthly Search Volume

Monthly search volume (MSV) is the number of times people search for a particular keyword in a month. By considering the popularity of a keyword, you can tailor your content strategy and write about new content opportunities.

To find out how many people are searching for a particular keyword, you can use keyword research tools like the one below from Ahrefs. For instance, when you type in the word “insurance” the tool provides the following MSV estimate outlined in red:

Oftentimes, competitive keywords with higher difficulties are the ones in which everyone in an industry wants to rank. For example, broad keywords like “insurance,” “marketing,” or “technology” are all going to be highly competitive because they have a high volume of monthly searches. There is also a bevy of written content on these topics vying for a keyword ranking.

The market for these and similar broad search terms is completely saturated. So getting a foothold for a search term like “marketing” would be like constructing a generic coffee shop between a Starbucks and a Dunkin’ Donuts — you may get a bit of business if a customer notices you in your area, but they’re more likely going to go to one of the established businesses they know.

For your business to truly gain SEO ranking, it’s important to consider less competitive keywords. Focusing on less keyword competition lets you demonstrate what makes you different and reach the best audience for your business.

If we return to our coffee shop example, concentrating on less competitive keywords is like branding yourself as the only ‘specialty cat cafe’ in the city. In this situation, it’s easier to stand out because you’re focusing on what makes you unique to your target buyer persona.

After all, the person looking for a cat cafe to sit in and relax is probably not the same person wanting a quick cup of coffee on their way to work — just like someone searching for “technology” is not the same person searching for “small business technology setup service.”

Intent & Relevance

We’ve established that search intent is the “why” behind the terms users search, but did you know that search engines use this intent to rank content? This relationship is called keyword relevance: how closely related a keyword or phrase is to a piece of content.

For example, say you own a website about baking and you want to target the keyword “easy cake recipes” in your content. But instead of writing a thorough article on these recipes, you write more about the history of cake. Even though this article may be intriguing, it’s not relevant to your primary keyword— and you’re unlikely to rank for your target. So be sure to keep keyword intent and relevance top of mind as you research.

How many keywords should I use?

It’s a question that has withstood the tests of time (spent on digital marketing): what are the optimal number of keywords for SEO content?

Well, for a long time digital marketers organized their entire content calendar around specific keywords — and the number of times to include these keywords on the page. They’d work with their teams to brainstorm focus keywords relevant to their products or services using keyword research tools. Then analyze all the variations of that keyword most likely to be a source of website traffic.

Unfortunately, as time went on, publications began keyword stuffing; publishing irrelevant, poorly-written content with specific keywords just to drive traffic. Eventually, search engines — largely led by Google, and the constantly-changing Google search algorithm — became more advanced. Instead, a more contextual-based approach to digital content was favored over simply keyword count.So as the power of keywords continues to shift, so does the importance of how often you use them. Yet, deciding how many keywords you should use is

still worth the consideration because it is a matter of keyword density: the ratio of keywords on your page versus the overall word count of the piece.

Aside from using a formula to calculate this ratio, you can also conduct a competitive analysis to examine the keyword density for specific keywords your competitors target.

There’s no magic trick to how to get on the first page of Google when it comes to SEO. To rank well on search engines, you need to consistently create rich SEO content and think about how it fits together in the long term. You must also be clear about your content strategy and the keywords you use to guide it.

Leveraging keywords to build your content foundation enriches your content marketing strategy and teaches you how to get traffic to your website — now, we’re going to tell you how to find them.

1. Clearly define your target buyer persona.

Having a clear understanding of your ideal audience is the key to any marketing endeavor. With keyword research, you must understand what questions you can answer or problems you can solve for this target buyer persona. At this point, it’s okay to think in broad search terms regarding what those problems or questions are.

For instance, if you’re a PR agency, you need to find leads who are interested in hiring a third party to help them run a PR campaign. To do this, perhaps you begin by writing digital content that answers the question “How to run a successful PR campaign”.

A broader content topic is a good starting point for building a pillar page for your topic cluster.

2. Narrow your focus and investigate keyword competition.

Once you determine the overarching question or problem to address, it’s time to get more specific. Getting more specific allows you to cater your content to your target audience, and it helps you leverage less competitive keywords.

I like to narrow my focus keyword by using lsigraph.com. LSI, or latent semantic indexing, is a process of generating search query variations by determining how closely a given search term relates to other search terms. Think of latent semantic indexing tools as a way of brainstorming and generating a lot of keyword ideas quickly and easily.


From there, use keyword tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to analyze a competitive keyword. This analysis allows you to determine which keywords have the most potential for your business.

3. Collect data, analyze keyword research results, and repeat.

As you create content around specific keywords, keep in mind that a great content strategist doesn’t just throw content out randomly to see what sticks. Consider using a tool like Google Search Console to track how your website is performing for your keywords.

Google Search Console can also help you see whether your traffic is increasing from keywords you hadn’t planned on ranking for and this informs your future digital content strategy. Having this knowledge is crucial to further refining your keyword planning and identifying content gaps that have significant potential to bring you new customers.

How to Create Unique Content Through Niche Keywords

What’s great about leaning into less competitive keywords is that it will allow you to build your brand authority within a specific field through clearly defined niche content. Niche content is a specialized writing topic that engages a specific audience’s interests to make a viable impact in your industry’s content market.

If we reexamine our “marketing” example above, we see how difficult it is to make an impact by writing general content on “marketing” in such a saturated market. But what if your content targets a longer, more specific keyphrase like “marketing portfolio examples” and an audience of marketers trying to build or bolster their marketing portfolio?

As you can see, although the monthly search volume for this keyword is significantly lower, it would be easier for you to get a foothold in the market thanks to this phrase’s lower keyword difficulty. To become more authoritative in your space, you need to incorporate long-tail keywords into your content strategy.

Because these keywords have less SEO competition, it’s easier to establish yourself as a content authority on a given subject — which is invaluable in SEO.

Whether you’re just getting started with keyword planning or looking to amplify your current content efforts, keep your customer persona at the front of your mind, and don’t be afraid to recalibrate your content strategy as you collect more data. Great inbound marketing is about having the right content reach your ideal potential customers when they need it, and getting smart with your keyword approach is a fantastic way to do that.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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KPI Dashboards & How to Use Them in Your Marketing

As a business leader, a big part of your responsibilities involves ensuring existing projects and initiatives within your organization are on track while creating space for smart new strategies.

But with a million and one other things fighting for your attention, it can sometimes be challenging to stay up to date.

Fortunately, there’s a tool to help you succeed: KPI dashboards.

KPI dashboards can help you check in with various aspects of your business and make sure everything’s running smoothly.

Let’s take a closer look at what KPI dashboards are and what they can do to help your marketing team succeed in 2022 and beyond.

Every department from sales to operations needs a dashboard, and dashboards are especially helpful for marketing. Between about a dozen online channels to consider (plus offline marketing efforts), numerous elements go into creating and sustaining a healthy marketing ecosystem.

A KPI dashboard helps marketers and business executives identify what’s going on with the elements of their marketing strategy that matter most, where to make changes if things start to go awry, and how to identify opportunities for new initiatives that can spur even greater success.

Getting your dashboard right takes time, but the pay-off is immense. Executives who successfully implement an effective dashboard can get better results and create a more rewarding, enjoyable work atmosphere in which the team has more room for creativity and experimentation.

The KPIs you choose should be related to your strategy and include a mix of forward-looking and backward-looking variables.

While it’s tempting to cram every metric you can think of into these reports, that’s a big mistake. When you’re confronted with a mountain of data, it’s nearly impossible to give the most critical numbers the level of scrutiny they deserve.

What should a KPI Dashboard include?

The best dashboards include only five to nine KPIs. These should, after all, be the key performance indicators behind your business playbook.

If you’re not sure which data points to focus on, think of it this way: what handful of things could totally tank your business if they went south?

Framing it that way can help you sort the vanity metrics, like the number of monthly social media impressions, from the things that matter, like cost-per-acquisition.

Benefits of a KPI Dashboard

KPI dashboards are great because they make it easy to track progress towards goals. Here are some other reasons why you might want to have one.

1. Detailed Overview

KPI dashboards offer viewers a detailed dive into the progress of an organization. Because they are highly visual, it’s possible to organize, analyze, and filter the most important metrics for any business.

Instead of wading through loads of complex data, KPI dashboards break data down in a simple, easy-to-understand form.

2. Better Decision Making

You need the ability to use accurate, up-to-date data if you want to make good business decisions — and KPI dashboards help you with that.

They show the vital operational data of an organization in one place, so KPIs are more visible. By eliminating data silos, this tool increases analytical efficiency and the ability to make the right data-driven decisions.

3. Real-time Analysis

KPI dashboards allow you to monitor the crucial performance metrics in real-time.

With this information available, decision-makers can make proactive moves and drive better business outcomes.

5 Best KPI Dashboard Software to Use

You’ll need a KPI dashboard software before creating a KPI dashboard. Here are 5 of the best around today.

1. Hubspot

Hubspot has a free KPI software you can use to quickly create visually appealing KPI dashboards that are easy to understand.

With Hubspot’s KPI dashboard software, you can also pull data from different departments to overview your organization’s performance. You’ll also not have to worry about data breaches as you can control who can access your dashboards.

2. Geckoboard

Geckoboard’s KPI dashboard software allows you to focus on the metrics that matter in your business. It’s easy to build and allows you to pull data from different sources like spreadsheets, databases, and even Zapier integrations.

3. Klipfolio

Klipfolio helps business owners visualize their data to understand how well they’re performing and make informed decisions about the future.

Kilpfolio also stores historical data so that business owners can compare performance over different time periods.

4. Databox

Like Geckoboard, Databox also pulls data from different sources to help teams monitor trends, collaborate better, and make more informed decisions that drive business growth.

Even if you have zero coding skills, you can quickly learn how to use Databox to create great KPI dashboards. Thanks to the over 70 integrations Databox has, you can also easily connect it to other platforms to collect more data.

5. Zoho

Zoho is another fantastic business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform you can use to create KPI dashboards.

The drag-and-drop dashboard builder makes the platform super intuitive even if you have no prior training. You can also access the report you create on Zoho from your phones and tablets, making it great for mobility.

Once you’ve chosen the software you want, here are some of the best tips and practices to help you create an excellent KPI dashboard.

1. Know your audience

Knowing your audience is essential to any marketing endeavor, and the same is true of creating a KPI dashboard.

Therefore, you must know who’ll work with the KPIs and the kind of information they’ll need to design the KPI dashboard correctly. For example, you can’t expect the same dashboard you create for an executive audience to work for a sales team.

2. Keep it relatively simple

Whether you’re creating a dashboard for busy managers with only minutes to spare or for a team with time to spare to delve into details, your dashboard needs to provide critical information in a simple, easy-to-understand format.

3. Include only what is needed

The heart of any KPI dashboard is brevity and utility. Therefore, stick to including only the most critical and insightful KPIs needed for meeting business and organizational goals.

4. Draft your design

The design of the KPI dashboard will depend on the composition, distribution, comparison, or relationship of the metrics.

For example, a dashboard for analyzing trends will comprise column or line charts. On the other hand, a dashboard for data composition will give the best benefits if you make it with maps or stacked charts.

Here are a few KPI dashboards examples. Notice that they’ve honed in on only the most critical metrics and display the information in clear, concise, easy-to-digest visual formats.

1. Subscription Model Dashboard

Subscription-based businesses are cropping up all over the place. From razors to clothes to meal prep kits, just about anything you could want or need in your daily life can be delivered to your doorstep regularly.

The subscription model is great because it guarantees businesses recurring revenue — a subscriber locks into your service for a set period, meaning regular monthly income for the term of service.

In this example, the leadership team has chosen to focus on metrics that give them a sense of how much monthly and yearly revenue they expect to make and their churn rate.

With this dashboard, the leadership team can quickly identify any potential issues from that handful of data points before those issues become mission-critical.

For example, let’s say the leadership team notices a steady rise in the churn rate, which isn’t ideal.

From there, they could start digging deeper, asking questions about what changes they could make to entice more of their existing customers to renew their membership.

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2. Large Ticket Item Dashboard

This dashboard from DataPine is the kind that could be useful to a marketing team in just about any industry that has a high price point — and, therefore, a high customer acquisition cost. Their focus is on nine of the biggest metrics that give them insight into their strategy’s success.

Rather than focusing on granular numbers, like Twitter followers gained or the number of likes on each piece of content shared on Facebook, they’re measuring numbers linked directly to their budget and tie in with the sales team’s efforts.

Understanding acquisition numbers and cost-per-acquisition provides valuable insight far beyond the reach of the marketing department.

Issues with poor cost-per-acquisition can indicate a need to cut ad spend, but they might also be hinting at a need to change the pricing structure for your offerings. Or they might mean that the sales team needs to shorten lead time to increase the number of acquisitions per month.

No matter what is ultimately identified as the source of the problem, having a dashboard empowers all of your teams to have informed, collaborative discussions about challenges facing your business that are backed up by actual data and numbers.

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3. Deals Closed Dashboard

Epec Engineered Technologies uses HubSpot’s reporting features to create a sleek KPI dashboard with all the most critical information, including “Form to MQL” and “First Page Seen.”

This is an undeniably helpful KPI dashboard to see whether your marketing strategy aligns with your goals. The “First Page Seen” section shows you which pages your visitors initially interact with — if that page hasn’t been updated in a while, consider optimizing it for higher conversions.

Additionally, the “Marketing qualified lead” vs. “Sales qualified lead” categories, shown in chart-form under “RFQ to MQL,” will help you tailor your strategy and determine which leads convert at the highest percentage and what you might do to even out any disparities.

4. Marketing Leads Dashboard

This dashboard made by Geek Dashboard is a fantastic example of how your marketing team can use a KPI dashboard to measure your team’s performance, particularly through leads and conversions.

It’s clear and concise, focusing on the significant factors for marketing — leads, and percent of conversions compared to goal. Additionally, the visuals help your team stay focused on the most critical aspects of your strategy to ensure you’re on track to hit your monthly or yearly goals.

KPI Dashboard Excel Templates

If you’re ready to start creating your own KPI dashboard, the good news is that there are tons of resources out there to help you get it done.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot offers dashboard templates that integrate with Excel, Google Drive, and PowerPoint, so you can easily track those all-important metrics within the program that works best for you and your team.

2. Smartsheet

Smartsheet provides Excel templates for a variety of marketing dashboards.

So whether you’re looking for a broad template for tracking big KPIs to more specific templates for social media marketing, Smartsheet has you covered.

Best of all, the templates are free to download on their website.

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3. Eloquens

Eloquens offers a marketing dashboard template with metrics that they’ve broken down into seven major categories. These categories include sales effectiveness, customer metrics, and budget metrics, and each category has several KPIs that you can choose to track.

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You’ve Created a Dashboard, Now What?

Once you’ve gotten your first marketing dashboard up and running, the real fun begins! Start pulling the numbers regularly — weekly or monthly, depending on how quickly things move in your business. Then, review it regularly and start to look for patterns.

When a number crops up that surprises you, it’s time to examine the cause.

Having all of your marketing information displayed in this simple dashboard makes it easier to identify the source of the potential issue and get feedback from the most relevant parties about what could be behind the startling data point.

Once you think you’ve identified the source of the change, it’s time to do some experimenting. If you missed your goal, try a new approach. If your numbers exceeded expectations, tweak things to lean into whichever existing strategies are most responsible for the high numbers.

Make changes slowly so that you can see how every shift in approach influences your results. Additionally, keep tracking those KPIs regularly so that you can understand the effects of each new tactic.

No matter what, you want to keep returning to your dashboard. This document should become your North Star, guiding your shifts in strategy and providing you with the information you need to understand which strategies drive the best results.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Hreflang Tags: The SEO Attribute for Content in Multiple Languages

Have you ever visited a webpage that was in a different language, and your browser asked you if you wanted to change it to your first language?

It’s a life-saver, right?

This is possible due to language tags or hreflang tags, which are used to let search engines know what language the content is in.

Now think about whether you’ve provided the functionality so your own webpages are ready for a global audience. If you haven’t properly tagged or re-directed your content to be optimized in different languages, it may not be gaining the traffic it could be. Let’s take a look at how hreflang tags can help serve the correct results to your visitors.

Jump To

What Hreflang Tags Are
What Hreflang Tags Look Like
Why You Need Them
How They Work
Hreflang Generator Tools

Hreflang tags (also known as rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”) allow you to show Google and other search engines the relationship between webpages that are in different languages. For instance, if your tag needs to link to an English-language blog, you’d use the following tag: hreflang=”en”.

What do hreflang tags look like?

Hreflang tags have an established syntax. Here’s an example of how hreflang tags are written.

Syntax

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” href=”https://example.com/alternate-page”/>

The tag is broken down into three parts:

link rel=“alternate”: Tells the search engine that this is an alternate version of he page.
hreflang=“x”: Specifies the language.
href=“https://example.com/alternate-page”: The alternate page is at this URL.

Example

This is a sample of what a webpage will look like when it’s tagged with an hreflang attribute:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/hreflang-tags”/>

The “en” in the first part of the tag refers to the language code, English, and the “US” refers to the country code, for the United States.

Let’s say we wanted this same page in Spanish for customers in Mexico. The hreflag tag would be:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es-mx” href=”https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/hreflang-tags”/>

Users with an IP address that notifies which language is being used will automatically see a properly tagged webpage, so a hreflang tag is especially helpful if you have a global audience and want to make their user experience delightful.

Hreflang Tags vs. HTML Lang Tags

There are two different types of language tags: HTML lang tags and hreflang tags.

While both HTML and hreflang tags are intended to optimize content in multiple languages, they have a couple of differences.

Simply put, language (or lang) tag attributes on an HTML tag tells your browser the language of the current document or webpage, while the hreflang tag attribute tells your browser the language of the webpage that’s being linked — for instance, a lang tag on HubSpot.com tells your browser the language of HubSpot.com, but a hreflang tag attribute tells a search engine the language of HubSpot.com when a user searches for HubSpot.

If a user searches for HubSpot.com from Germany, a hreflang tag is responsible for changing the link available in the search engines. However, when someone lands on HubSpot.com in Germany, a lang tag changes the language on the page itself.

Examples

It might be easier to visualize, so here’s a sample lang tag:

<html lang=”en”>

Alternatively, here’s a sample hreflang tag:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com/”hreflang=”en”/>

Google recommends using hreflang when indexing websites that are in different languages.

You might also want to use HTML language tags in conjunction with an hreflang tag — they can work together to inform search engines about the content on your webpages. Having both tags tells search engines what language a webpage is in, while directing users from other countries to the appropriate webpage.

Next, let’s explore what hreflang tags are used for and how you can use them for your own webpages.

Why do you need hreflang tags?

Ultimately, it’s helpful to use hfreflang tags so you can create a better user experience. If a user in Germany searches for HubSpot, we want to make sure the result in the search engine shows our site in German and not in English. Besides a better user experience, this can also help reduce bounce rate and increase conversion rates because you’re showing the best version of your site to the right audience.

Another benefit of using hreflang tags is that they prevent duplicate content. Let’s say you have the same content on different URLs aimed at Spanish speakers in Mexico, Spain, and Chile but with slight differences depending on the target audience, like currency. Without an hreflang tag, Google may just see this as duplicate content.

Hreflang tags tell search engines that while the content may look similar, it is directed at different audiences.

How do hreflang tags work?

To illustrate how hreflang works, let’s consider an example. Let’s say you make two homepages that are the same, but one is in English (hreflang=”en”), and the other’s in Spanish (hreflang=”es”).

When a user searches for your homepage in Spanish or from a Spanish-language browser, they’ll receive the Spanish version of your homepage, as long as it’s properly tagged.

Each language and country has its own hreflang tag. Here’s a list of common ones:

German/Germany: de-de
English/USA: en-us
Irish/Ireland: ga-ie
Hindi/India: hi-in
Italian/Italy: it-it
Japanese/Japan: ja-jp
Korean/Korea: ko-kp
Portuguese/Brazil: pt-br
Russian/Russain Federation: ru-ru
Chinese (simplified for Chinese Mainland)/China: zh-hans-cn
Thai/Thailand: th-th

If you are sharing the same page in different regions, note that it is possible to have multiple tags on the same page. For instance, if your French website sells to customers in Germany and Spain too, you’ll be able to tag your page accordingly in HTML.

Hreflang tags are bidirectional and work in pairs. If you add a tag to an English page pointing to the Spanish version, then the Spanish version of the page must also have an hreflang tag pointing to the English page.

Keep in mind that because hreflang tags are able to be overridden by other SEO options, your page may rank higher in a different language. To avoid this, make sure search engines are equipped with the correct attributes, so they know which language to present your page in.

If all of this is a little confusing, don’t worry. You can use a free Hreflang tag generator so all you need to do is copy and paste the code. Let’s look at a few examples below.

Hreflang Tags Generator Tools

1. The Hreflang Tags Generator Tool

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With this tool, you can generate hreflang tags for your multi-language site. All you need to do is add the URL to your site and choose which language it’s in.

This is a great tool because you can even upload a CSV with up to 50 URLs and can generate the hreflang tag for 50 sites at once.

What We Like

Their ability to bulk upload 50 URLs at once to generate 50 hreflang tags will save you time.

2. Geo Targetly

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Geo Targetly is another great hreflang generator tool. It’s easy and free to use. All you need to do is input your URL and the language, and then voila.

While you can’t upload 50 sites at once, this is still a quick, easy-to-use option.

What We Like

Geo Targely’s tool is simple and user-friendly, making it a great choice for beginners or those with smaller sites.

3. Sistrix

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The Sistrix tool is similar to the other two tools above. All you need to do is input your URL and language and then the tool will generate the code for you.

While you can’t import a list from a CSV, you can enter multiple domains at once to generate the tags you need.

What We Like

This generator from Sistrix allows you to input several domains at once to generate hreflang tags, plus has a fee tag validation tool if you want to make sure existing tags on your site are correct.

Use Hreflang Tags for a Better User Experience

When you’re optimizing your content for search engines, it’s important to do everything you can to rank on the SERPs. This helps people across the globe find your business.

Ultimately, the point of hreflang tags is to give customers who speak different languages, or who live in different regions of the world, content meant for them.

This article was originally published in March 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.