Every website owner wants their content to rank at the top of search engines. That is why businesses spend so many resources on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Most of the SEO practices and elements are pretty straightforward, such as link building, meta description, content generation, etc.
There are, however, some specific aspects of SEO that can be trickier. One of these tricky SEO aspects is canonicalization – and it has a huge impact on how search engines rank and evaluate your website. You can think of canonicalization as a technical SEO version of citation, as it prevents duplication and gives due credit to the original content.
What is Canonicalization in SEO?
Canonicalization is a way of telling search engines that one domain is the primary version when there are multiple versions of the same thing. For this, a canonical tag, otherwise known as “rel Canonical” is used to declare that a specific URL is the master copy of the web page.
In simple words, it informs search engines like Google, which version of a URL you want to appear in the search results. For example, your online store sells one style of dress in many colors, and you have a page for each of the colors. Below are URL’s which refer to the same product:
All these URLs are for the same product, but the third one should be the master version. Thus, there should be a canonical tag on all three pages; it could be as follows:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/dresses/yellow-dresses-are-beautiful” / >
It is highly recommended to consult with an SEO service company in Dubai to make sure all your web pages have relevant canonical tags to make it easier for search engines to locate you.
Why does SEO Canonicalization matter?
Duplicate content can be a huge disaster for your SEO because when search engines crawl multiple URLs with the same content, it creates problems. First, if the search engine has to go through so much duplicate content, it may miss out on important stuff on your website, like a new collection.
Secondly, duplication may result in hampering your overall ranking. Even if your website does rank, chances are the search engine crawler will pick the wrong URL. Hence, by using canonical tags, you can control the duplicate content and tell search engines, which is the primary source. For example, most websites have multiple versions of home pages, such as:
in such cases, when you have multiple URLs, all of which have inbound links, it can cause canonicalization problems that affect your ranking. So, the best way is to choose a preferred URL and use a canonical tag to redirect other versions to it.
SEO canonicalization best practices
Duplicate content can cause several SEO problems for website owners are discussed above. Here are a few important things to consider when using canonical tags for SEO.
1. Canonicalize your home page
Home page duplication is very common, and people may link to your home page in various ways that you cannot control. Hence, to prevent unforeseen issues, you must put a canonical tag on your homepage to secure it.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://spiralclick.com” />
For example, Spiral Click has a self-referential canonical tag.
2. Self-referential Canonical tags
Your canonical tags should be self-referential and point to the current URL. For example, if URLs A, B, and C are duplicates, and A is the canonical version. In such cases, it is ok to put a canonical tag pointing to A on the URL of A. This may sound confusing to some, so get in touch with an SEO expert because it is essential for ranking on search engines.
3. Spot-check canonical tags
Make sure to spot check your URLs and canonical tags because a bad code can result in a website to write a different canonical tag for every URL. This ultimately makes the canonicalization of your website redundant. Such mistakes cause enormous problems for the CMS and e-commerce sites.
4. Careful Canonicalize near-duplicates
People often associate canonicalization with exact duplicates. What they don’t realize is that you can also use a canonical tag for a near-duplicate content, i.e., web pages with very similar content. However, you must proceed with caution because it is quite debatable. Don’t use canonical tags yourself, and do consult with an SEO company.
However, experts recommend using a canonical tag for product pages that are very similar to each other and differ only by location, price, currency, or some small qualities. For such pages, keep in mind that their non-canonical versions cannot rank on search engines. However, if the web page content is different, the search engine will ignore the tag.
5. Canonicalize Cross-Domain
If you control multiple sites, you can use canonical tags across domains. For example, you publish the same articles daily on various websites. In such cases, you can use a canonical tag that will focus on the ranking of just one site. It is best to use this approach with caution and expert help because canonicalization will prevent non-canonical sites from ranking.
Use of Canonical Tags is the Key to SEO!
Using canonicalization for your content is a great way to ensure that search engines can understand where your website content is coming from. Setting the canonical URL for your web pages, you can uniquely structure your content and reduce the chances of confusion and identification problems.
So, leverage canonicalization in SEO to organize your web content and make sure that your website is performing well on search rankings. Make sure to consult with an SEO expert to audit your canonical tags and to ensure optimal SEO performance.