Is hreflang a Google ranking signal?

Published: November 28, 2018

No, the hreflang attribute doesn’t impact rankings, according to Google’s John Mueller statement cited below.

If you have a website, I don’t know that, that’s targeting furniture, and you have a UK website, and it doesn’t show it all in in France for example, then just setting up at the hreflang with completely new pages for France wouldn’t change anything, because we wouldn’t have anything to swap out. It wouldn’t be that your UK page would be excessively ranking” source

However, the hreflang attribute is used by Google, but only for language and regional URLs. While hreflang is not a direct ranking signal, proper usage of the hreflang attribute is crucial for ranking with the correct URLs in different countries/regions.

Also, keep in mind that hreflang a very strong clue, but it’s not a directive. Follow Google’s implementation guidelines here.

To facilitate URL discoverability, use Sitemaps to indicate alternate languages and pages. Here’s how to do it.