I'm getting this warning message in Google Webmaster Tools:

Incorrect rel-alternate-hreflang implementation In particular, there seems to be a problem with missing or incorrect bi-directional linking (when page A links with hreflang to page B, there must be a link back from B to A as well).

This message seems pretty straight forward, but when checking their example pages, I'm not finding anything wrong. I'm using alternate for translation of main site menu, titles, etc. In each page I have this:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://mydomain.com/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="jp" href="http://ja.mydomain.com/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="ko" href="http://ko.mydomain.com/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="th" href="http://th.mydomain.com/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="http://es.mydomain.com/page" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt" href="http://pt.mydomain.com/page" />

I've double checked this exists in all the 6 pages. This is the first time I've seen this message although I've implemented this at least 6 months ago, and implementation hasn't changed. Is there any way to check a specific set of pages for these things? Am I missing something in my implementation?

We're auto-redirecting people from a location to their specific language, and give them an option to manually change this. I've also just found out about the suggestion for Vary HTTP header - is that relevant and important here?

  • 1
    I also received a similar message from Google Webmaster tool on Friday and after a thorough check I realised that maybe another tag - <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="mydomain.com" /> Should be included, this should tell Google that a cross referencing tag is in place. Any thoughts?
    – user32356
    Oct 28, 2013 at 11:12
  • Mark may have hit the nail on the head here if you are using a single page to redirect visitors to the other pages.
    – Max
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:45
  • @moobot what to you mean by 'using a single page to redirect'? I have a main page (without subdomain per lang) that is in english, and redirect to other lang according to header accept lang. Should I just add <link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="/http://mydomain.com/page> to all pages?
    – Noam
    Oct 29, 2013 at 10:05
  • Noam, if you would like to post your URL that might help.
    – Max
    Oct 29, 2013 at 10:10
  • Hmm, like your original post, seems ok to me. Might be best asking the question in the Google Forums. Ignore my other comment, I don't think it's valid in this case. If you had a language/country selector page or auto-redirecting home pages, you should use "x-default", but I doesn't look like you do.
    – Max
    Oct 29, 2013 at 10:35

2 Answers 2


Google appears to have a bug. Other people have been asking about this in the Google product forums. Google's Christopher Semturs says:

…we are looking into this. As long as you do not get a mail with better examples you should not worry, the general setup looks sane.


Google Webmaster gave me the same warning message again, this time with an example:

Value JP found on 

So my problem was that I used hreflang=jp (like seen in my question) instead of using hreflang=ja. I verified this is actaully a language code mistake here http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_language_codes.asp

  • I missed that, I'm glad you found the problem. Jan 9, 2014 at 14:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.