Should I do this?

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=en_US>

Instead of my current code:

<!DOCTYPE html>

If I only use just one language (meaning: my website is not multilingual). Would adding it now mean I'd e.g. decrease in ranks? For example, I have now a lot of users coming from different countries. Would adding this mean that my website will be ranked lower in those countries?

1 Answer 1


You can set the lang attribute in your <html> tag if you want to. The w3c recommends setting it.

If you do set it, you the value should just be en, not en_US. It is a language identifier, not a locale identifier. It should only specify the language, and not the language and country.

However, setting the lang doesn't actually do anything. That attribute is not used in any way as far as I know. Google says that they ignore it because they find it more reliable to detect the language from the words used rather than rely on meta-data.

Google uses hreflang tags to target alternate versions of your page to different languages. See https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en However, if you only have one language, you shouldn't use hreflang tags.

If you do end up targeting your site to only the US, Google will not send traffic from other countries to your site. If the traffic from other countries is valuable to you, you should not try to target your site to the US only.

  • Thanks for your answer. So, let's ignore hreflang. But using 'lang' would not make a difference at all? Or would that also lead to a decline in traffic, as my site would only be served in the US?
    – Siyah
    Apr 4, 2020 at 16:41
  • It would be ignored by Google, so it wouldn't change your SEO. Apr 4, 2020 at 17:42
  • Interesting. So it's actually pointless, from SEO perspective. Thanks, Stephen!
    – Siyah
    Apr 4, 2020 at 18:09

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