One of our clients got a huge international eCommerce website. We advised them to use the hreflang attribute since most of their product pages exist on all of their web shops. However, there are also quite a few products that are not listed in every single web shops. Now if they used the hreflang attribute, they might have a lot of useless code pointing to non-existing pages in the other shops.

They said it might be quite a hassle to fix this. So I am wondering: What might the impact be on Google and other search engines, if they just flat out used the hreflang regardless of whether or not the respective product pages exist on the other shop?


Nothing will happen. If you know that you're implementing it like this, you probably want to achieve something with it though, so maybe you should just implement it properly? :-)

  • Thanks, John. (I did ask the developers to fix this, however they seem quite reluctant to go through the trouble.) – tentakellady Jan 19 '15 at 13:17
  • @JohnMueller There seems to be a new twist on the UA Goolge hack going on now. Thought Google should know since it is an attack against your systems. Here is the link: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/76808/… In case you missed my last ping, you can follow the dupe question link to the other to see what is going on. Thanks on behalf of us like Google and what you do! It may not be within your purview, but I thought you could send an e-mail to someone- anyone who can at least direct it to the right place. – closetnoc Feb 3 '15 at 7:12

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