First implemented by Google in 2009, canonical URLs and tags are a technical solution used by webmasters to help search engines identify the original or master copy of a web page.
By utilizing a canonical tag, webmasters can prevent duplicate content issues by indicating to search engines their preferred or “canonical” version of a web page.
In this blog post, we will cover:
The most common way to specify a canonical URL is through the use of a canonical tag. Also known as “rel canonical”, the canonical tag is an HTML tag placed in the <head> section of a page that indicates to search engines the preferred URL of a web page. Canonical tags will look like this:
<link rel=”canonical”, href=”https://www.preferredurl.com”>
The enclosed url within the href attribute is known as the canonical URL.
Canonical tags can also be used to reference a page back to itself. This is known as a self-referential canonical tag. While not mandatory, Google recommends using self-referential canonical tags to be explicitly clear which URL should be indexed.
Since Google views even differences in trailing slashes for the same page as different URLs, utilizing self-referential canonical tags can ensure Google is aware of your preferences.
Canonical URLs can be set up in a variety of ways in addition to the canonical tag method mentioned above. Some methods Google provides are:
Please note that Google does not explicitly require webmasters to utilize canonical tags. Google can identify what they interpret to be the best version of a page or URL on their own based on a variety of page signals.
You can use the URL inspection tool found within Google Search Console to identify which URL Google considers canonical.
Multiple URLs for the same page are quite common as a result of a site supporting multiple device types or dynamic URLs. As a result, canonical tags can be incredibly useful for SEO purposes including, but not limited to:
Google provides general guidelines for canonicalization:
Canonicalization is an incredibly useful tool to help make it easier for Google and other search engines to evaluate your content and its quality. Ultimately, canonical tags allow you to indicate to Google the specific URL/page you want indexed, thereby helping prevent any potential duplicate content issues.
Since setting up canonicals varies on your content management system, contact your website administrator first to learn more about how to set up canonicals on your site.
Source: www.seerinteractive.com, originally published on 2022-03-03 12:13:13