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I have a multilingual site and I have the following <link rel="alternate" > in the head section.

<link href="http://www.example.com/en" rel="canonical" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://www.example.com/en" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="ja" href="http://www.example.com/ja" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="zh-CN" href="http://www.example.com/zh-CN" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="ko" href="http://www.example.com/ko" />
<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.example.com" hreflang="x-default" /> 

I have read several articles including Google guidelines, but I'm still confusing to include the current language code for rel="alternate".

In the example above, the current languague is en. Should I include <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://www.example.com/en" />?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes! In a recent blog post we mentioned:

Your [rel-alternate-hreflang] annotations should be self-referential. Page A should use rel-alternate-hreflang annotation linking to itself.

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Is there any reason for that? rel=alternate is made for alternatives, and neither the blog post nor the webmaster article explains that. – toscho Aug 14 '14 at 6:50
The main reasons are that it makes it easier to reuse the same block of annotations on all pages of the set, as well as making sure that canonicalization issues don't cause unnecessary problems. For example, if /en.htm?sessionid=123 doesn't mention that /en.htm is the English version, we may assume that the "sessionid=123" part is important (but not confirmed by the other pages). – John Mueller Aug 27 '14 at 8:59
Hmm, so Google uses rel-canonical and rel=alternate for the same purpose? Sounds like a serious bug to me. I hesitate to implement a workaround for this duplicated functionality in our plugin with more than 50k users. – toscho Aug 27 '14 at 9:39

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