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I have read Google's recommendations regarding <link rel="alternate"> in the <head> for multilingual websites.

As far as I know, we can also use rel="alternate" on <a> tags, and so far I've been using this technique on visible links to switch between different languages of my website like this:

        <a href="/en/" rel="alternate" hreflang="en" lang="en">English</a>
        <a href="/fr/" rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" lang="fr">Français</a>

The Google Webmaster Tools answer doesn't mention this technique in regards to <a> tags though, so should I use <link> tags in the header in addition to <a> tags in the body, even though they are redundant?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Definitely keep the <link> tags in your <head> section. I've never read anywhere that Google actually acknowledges rel="alternate" on <a> tags. Also many other bots may only retrieve the <head> of your documents, so if those <link> tags aren't in the header, they may never actually see them. But I don't think that having the rel="alternate" on your <a> tags in addition to having them in the HEAD would make any difference.

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