Usually when we talk about international SEO and languages, hreflang is the hot buzzword. But what about the older <html lang=”en-gb”> tag that was previously used? If you have been adding it to your pages, you can save that tiny bit of code… Google ignores that tag.
John Mueller explained that one of the problems was that people were copying code or templates that included that tag, but with the wrong information, and the site owner wasn’t updating it. So it turned out to be a pretty useless tag for them to use.
We ignore that completely. The primary reason for that is that we’ve noticed that people essentially copy and paste boilerplate HTML and they use language = EN for pretty much all types of languages. So it’s not seen as something that’s relevant for us.
And that goes for the LANG attribute in general, so if you use that within DIVs as well, within the BODY, we essentially ignore that. The one thing I like to mention to kind of watch out for is if you have foreign language content on your website, and the LANG tag is sometimes used by screen readers to handle the pronunciation properly.
To be clear, he is not talking about the use of hreflang which Google does currently use. Google has an extensive help guide for international SEO using hreflang here. This is only referring to the <html lang=”en-gb”> type of usage on webpages.
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