Use either <head> or XML sitemaps to help you implement hreflang, do not use both as it can cause more issues.
You need to cross annotate in order for hreflang to work.
Google recommends the use of self-referencing hreflang.
Try your best to eliminate duplicate content, but if it must happen, use canonical and hreflang to help you, but you must be fully aware of what’s happening.
Once implemented, you must give it time to fully function. hreflang takes about 2 days for it to fully work.
If you are using your default website to double annotate, it is totally acceptable.
Always double check and look back at your parameters and results to see what the problem is. Ask for help when you are still unable to find anything about it.
When using a country redirection strategy, you can use 302 on your homepage to direct your users to a website that is in their language or region.
With that, you will be able to start your journey on using hreflang and allow users to be directed to the correct version of your website! This is best if you have expanded businesses and target customers across different countries and different speaking languages. This can enable you to expand the possibilities of your SEO and increase the page rankings of your webpage. Search Engine Optimization can be very tricky, but once done right, it will boost your website and allow it to perform greatly.