International Targeting "no return tags"
This happens when a page includes a hreflang link to an alternate language, but the linked page doesn't link back to it. This Official Google Webmaster Central Blog post explains that:
Annotations must be confirmed from the pages they are pointing to. If page A links to page B, page B must link back to page A, otherwise the annotations may not be interpreted correctly.
So if you have this error reported, you should edit the
Alternate URL page code to ensure there's a hreflang link back to the matching
Whereas the answer by Andrew makes sense and is in line with the official response by Google, I see 3 types of errors in my website:
A URL containing an URL-encoded URL is linked back using the properly encoded URL. E.g.
http://example.com%3Flang%3Dzhis linked back as
http://example.com?lang=zh- there is not much I can do if someone is linking my site using a wrong URL encoding.
The canonical URL is linked back through "x-default", but it is for some reason still detected as "no return tags"
The originating URL is listed as linking to an incorrect alternate URL. This is URL is not found either in the html of the originating page, nor in the sitemap (I am not using http headers). The head of the originating page is pointing to the correct URLs.
All these, especially 2 and 3, seem to be errors in the Google Webmaster Tools.