Using canonical tag in SEO is an effective means of informing Google and other search engines about which URLs you want them to index. They can help you avoid duplicate content concerns if you have many versions of the same page, such as an original and print version, session IDs, or color variants of the same product.
What is a Canonical Tag?
A canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) is a piece of HTML code that specifies the primary version of duplicate, near-duplicate, and related sites. To put it another way, if you have the same or comparable content available at many URLs, you may use canonical tags to signal which version is the main one and hence should be indexed.
Guidelines for Adding Canonical Tags
Canonical tags are simple to set up. Canonical tags must be used correctly and regularly in order to function properly:
- Use absolute URLs that include the whole domain.
- Maintain consistency in whether a slash or no slash is used at the end of the URL.
- Don’t mix cases: either use upper case characters consistently or don’t use them at all.
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google how to handle parameters and to filter out those that don’t deliver unique material. All of the same parameters should be removed from your canonical URLs.
- Consistently employ character codes (ampersands, etc.) or don’t use them at all.
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What is the Significance of Canonical Tag in SEO?
Google despises duplicate material. It makes it more difficult for them to choose
- Which version of a page to index (only one will be indexed!)
- Determine which version of a website should rank for relevant queries.
- Whether they should aggregate “link equity” on a single page or distribute it across many editions.
Duplicate material might also have an impact on your “crawl budget.” As a result, instead of uncovering other valuable information on your website, Google may end up spending time indexing numerous copies of the same page.
Of course, forcing Google to waste time scanning duplicate material should be avoided if at all feasible. However, Google claims that most sites are not affected.
All of these concerns are resolved by using canonical tags. They let you tell Google which version of a page to index and rank, as well as where to consolidate any “link equity.”
If a canonical URL is not specified, Google will take matters into its own hands.
Using Google in this manner is not a good idea. They could choose a version of your page that you don’t wish to be canonical.
Additionally, cross-domain duplicate content concerns exist. It’s a great practice to use a self-referential canonical tag in SEO based article and have the syndicated material indicate you as the canonical version with a cross-domain canonical tag.
This does not always prevent syndicated content from appearing in search results, but it does reduce the likelihood of it outranking the original.
When people choose to syndicate their work on purpose, it becomes impossible to identify the original source. As a result, it is advised to use canonical or blocking. This may be required by syndicating publishers.
With reference to SEO, you can also gain insight into: how can businesses benefit from using analytics on their website.
When to Use Canonical Tag in SEO?
When the same or extremely similar material exists on many URLs, it is critical to use a canonical tag. Here are some examples of frequent canonical tag applications. You should use the tag if:
- The homepage can be accessed by many URLs (for example, www.domain.com, domain.com/index.html, and so forth).
- Pages can be accessed with or without trailing slashes (“/”) and with or without case sensitivity.
- Because of URL rewriting, the server just pays attention to one ID and accepts address ID variants (like Session IDs or product filters) that do not modify the content.
- There are several versions of the content available (e.g. print version, PDF, etc.)
- The website has HTTPS versions.
- The URL is still accessible through HTTP without SSL encryption.
- Additional content is published on other, external websites
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