Canonical tags have been introduced to the SEO community for more than a decade since 2009. They are considered one of the best inventions by SEO experts. There are duplicates of contents when searched in the search engines. This is where the canonical tags play their role.
What do you understand by SEO canonical tags?
“Canonical” means related. The SEO canonical tag avoids duplicate or “identical” material from displaying on various URLs, which might cause difficulties.
When we use the term canonical tag, we mean it is a small segment or a piece of HTML code that specifies the main version that is either similar, a copy, or closely related to the actual pages.
In simpler terms, if there is similar content or comparable content available over various URLs, SEO experts recommend using canonical tags. The most crucial version should be indexed in such cases.
How is an SEO canonical tag represented?
SEO canonical tags are put in the header section of a web page and have a uniform and straightforward syntax and is represented as: <link rel= “canonical” href= “https://example.com/sample-page/”/>
If we explain it in simpler English and break down the code in smaller parts it would mean:
- link rel here means “canonical“: This tag’s link points to the page’s original (canonical) version.
- Href means “https://example.com/sample-page/”: This is the canonical version’s URL.
Why is a canonical tag so important?
Duplicate or exactly similar contents are a complicated subject leading to confusion among readers. Similarly, when browsers scrawl multiple URLs with similar (or closely related) content, it may lead to a number of SEO-related problems.
It also makes them confused to choose the preferability because of the following factors:
- Which version (the original or the related) of a page should be indexed (just one!)
- For relevant inquiries, which version of a page should be ranked.
- Whether “link equity” should be consolidated on a single page or distributed over different editions.
- Besides, in case a search engine comes across multiple duplicate contents, there is always a chance that the comparatively unique content loses its importance.
- Secondly, when there is duplication of contents on a broad scale, it dilutes the site’s ranking. In such instances, if your site does not fall under the proper hierarchy, the search engines may direct it to the original URL. When SEO canonical tags are used, it helps to control the duplicate contents.
The Best practices while using canonical tags
The concern about content that is duplicated is challenging to resolve. Therefore, while utilizing the canonical tag, some factors must be tried to be maintained, which will be helpful.
- Self-referential canonical tags are considered good: If there are multiple duplicates of a particular URL, the canonical tag referring to one URL is a good practice.
- Canonicalize your home page ahead of time: Given the prevalence of duplicates of the homepage and the fact that readers tend to link with the homepage of a site in various methods. A canonical tag that is used on the template of the homepage is usually considered brilliant to avoid unforeseen difficulties.
- Powerful canonical tags must be double-checked to avoid errors: When a site has incorrect code, it must have used a dissimilar canonical tag for each URL version (entirely missing the whole point of the canonical tag). Therefore the URLs must be properly-checked, specifically on CMS-based sites and e-commerce sites.
- Abstain, sending miscellaneous messages: If various messages are transmitted, the search engines may ignore or misinterpret a canonical tag. If you can prevent it, chaining canonical tags is not a bright idea. Send unambiguous signals; otherwise, search engines will make poor decisions.
- Canonicalizing near-duplicates should be done with caution: Most people associate canonicalization with exact duplication. On near-duplicates, the canonical tag can be used, but in such cases, proceed with caution. Typically, it is acceptable to use canonical tags for sites that are similar, for example product pages which differ only in location or currency, or a single material attribute. But non-canonical versions for that particular page may not be suitable for ranking during a search. Search engines may disdain the tag if the pages are too dissimilar.
- Remove cross-domain duplicates by canonicalizing them: It is acceptable to use the canonical tag between domains of sites with the same owner. The canonical tag concentrates the ranking power on a single site. Remember that canonicalization will prohibit sites that are non-canonical from ranking. Therefore, it is crucial to note this application is appropriate for your needs.
- Ensure that the canonical URL is reachable: Sometimes, the search engine redirects to a different URL or URLs with 404 error codes. Robots. txt-blocked URLs are also a common thing. Therefore, canonicalize URLs that are allowed in your robots.txt file and return a 200 response code. A site’s XML sitemap must include a canonical URL. Look for noindex tags in canonical URLs.
- If you’re using a program that generates canonical tags dynamically, double-check them. Some plugins and CMS platforms may generate a unique self-referencing canonical for each URL published on your site, defeating the point of URL canonicalization.
- Make use of absolute URLs: Always include the whole URL when adding a URL to a canonical tag. This means that the URL must have the following elements:
( HTTP:// The www The.com ) a portion of the domain name. They are referred to as “Absolute URLs,” Whereas “Relative URLs” are URLs that include the part following the “.com”. They aren’t recognized by Google when it reads the canonical tag. When an absolute URL is not provided, the search engines will ignore it.
Avoid these canonicalization blunders.
There are some of the most typical blunders people make while attempting to canonize:
- Through the use of robots.txt blocking the URL that is canonicalized.
- ‘noindex’ setting must be done for canonicalized URL.
- 4XX HTTP status code must be set for the canonicalized URL.
- Every single paginated pages must be canconized to the root page.
- Canonical tags should not be used with the hreflang.
- Using various rel=canonical tags.
- in the <body> Rel=canonical has to be avoioded.
Canonical tags are a signal to search engines rather than a direction. There are inspection tools that generally show both the Search Engine selected canonicals or the ones selected by the user, in the Google Search Console.
Also Read :
- What is Seo
- What is White Hat Seo
- What is black hat SEO
- How do Search Engines work
- Types of SEO Tactics
- Negative Seo
- What is Gray hat Seo
- What is a Title tag in SEO
- What are meta description tags
- What Are Meta Keywords Tags
- What are Seo HTML heading tags
- What is Seo optimized Domain Name
- What are SEO canonical tags
Search Engines work and perform several ways in order to deliver and get proper search results:
It is the process where crawler comes to our website and fetch all the web pages linked to a website. This task is performed by a software, called a crawler or a spider( or a Googlebot, as is the case with google )
It is the process of creating an index for all the fetched web pages to read and adding them into a huge database of google where they can be later retrieved and indexed. Essentially, the process of indexing is identifying the word searches and expressions of users that describe the page and assigning the page to particular keywords.
When a request comes, the search engine prcoesses it. It will compare the search string in the search request with the indexed pages in the database.
Google calculates and analyzes the website pages. Since it is likely that there is more than one page contains the search strings, so the search engine starts calculating the relevancy of each of the pages through page keywords stuffed in titles, headings, and body in its index to the search strings.
Retrieving Results :
The last step in search engine activities is retrieving the best-matched results for the users. Basically,it is nothing one who searches on google and simply gets the appropriate results shown in the browser.
Search engines such as Google, yahoo, bing, and Yandex often update their relevancy algorithms dozens of times per month. When you see changes in your rankings it is due to an algorithm up-gradation or something else outside of your control.
Although the basic principle of operation of all search engines is the same, the minor differences between their relevancy algorithms lead to major changes in results relevancy.