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My website is mostly in English but my articles regularly contain words and phrases in French.

Here is an example: https://frenchtogether.com/quand-meme/

Should I use the lang attribute for each of these words and phrases? I have never done so and I wonder if it could be hurting me in term of SEO.

  • Google and Bing are more clever than you think... there's never any need to mark-up words like cliché, i adore, etc. – Simon Hayter Jan 9 '18 at 20:08
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It won't make a difference - Google doesn't take note of it within HTML at all:

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-ignores-the-html-lang-attribute-22974.html

That said, I'd keep it as a tag in the head of the page. (In your case, it'd be English.) Yes, it's been deprecated by Google, but can help with web standards, particularly for certain other search engines and screen readers.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I already have the English tag in the header so it seems I am all set :) – user84296 Jan 10 '18 at 11:32
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Setting up and using the Lang attribute appropriately will assist with accessibility and better UX through all types of devices. Google said they ignore the Lang attribute for indexation purposes and instead they use hreflang, but that doesn’t mean they evaluate the websites accessibility and UX.

The standard reads

The lang (or sometimes the xml:lang ) attribute specifies the natural language of the content of a web page. An attribute on the html tag sets the language for all the text on the page. If part of the page uses text in a different language, you can add a language attribute with a different value to the element that surrounds that content.

You can define the Lang attribute for he whole page and then define each text different Lang attribute in another language. follow this instruction.

Following those recommendation will help you to have a cleaner HTML code and better overall webpage quality and it might help you with better SEO.

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