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Language Detection, Alternate Pages and "hreflang" in XML Sitemaps

Correct identification of the primary language on a page can be useful for alternate hreflang information and Google news sitemaps.
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Page Language Detection in Our Sitemap Generator

Our software determines the primary page language by checking the following things:
  1. Checks if the webserver responds with content-language HTTP response header:
    • PHP pages: Insert this code <?php header("Content-Language: en"); ?>.

  2. The page is checked for content-language META tag:
    <meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en">

  3. The page is checked for lang inside the HTML tag:
    <html lang="en">

  4. The page is searched for Open Graph Protocol attribute property og:locale inside META tags.

  5. The page is checked for xml:lang inside the HTML tag:
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">

  6. The page URL is checked for common language/culture and country codes.

  7. Planned: Compare content against word lists for each language. Select best match.


Language Detection Is Important When Creating XML Sitemaps With Hreflang Information

XML sitemaps allow each page URL to include a list of URLs with its alternate language versions.

To enable this featue in A1 Sitemap Generator simply check the option Create sitemap | Include "hreflang" alternate URLs in sitemap files before you build your XML sitemap.

create XML sitemaps with hreflang information

When generating the XML sitemaps, page URLs that are variations of each other in different languages get associated by:
  • HTML page markup including <link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com" hreflang="xxx" />.
  • Page language detection based on a variety of methods.
  • URL page similarity between different language variations.


Where Language Information Is Used in News Sitemaps

When generating Google News Sitemaps, one of the XML fields for each news and article URL is the language used on the page.

Options you can set that will help the crawler:
  • Set Select stop words to match the main language of your website or select auto if it uses multiple languages.
This help page is maintained by

As one of the lead developers, his hands have touched most of the code in the software from Microsys.

If you email any questions, chances are that he will be the one answering them.
A1 Sitemap GeneratorAbout A1 Sitemap Generator

Build all kinds of sitemaps including text, visual HTML / CSS, RSS, XML, image, video, news and mobile for all your websites no matter the platform they use.
     
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