Canonical tags are an important part of SEO best practices. Essentially, they allow webmasters to avoid the issue of duplicate content. But what are they, and how are they used? Here we explore the implications of duplicate content, the benefits of canonical tags, and explain how to use them correctly for SEO.
What are canonical tags?
Canonical tags are HTML codes that define the original version for duplicate and similar pages. This means if you have similar content available under varying URLs, you can use canonical tags to instruct search engines which page to display in their search results.
Why do you need canonical tags?
Canonical tags are vital, considering search engines do not view URLs as humans do. Search engines see different URLs on your website distinctively, even where humans can’t see the difference. For instance, humans will view www.finalexams.com/home and finalexam.com as the same. However, a search engine like Google will treat these two as distinct URLs.
Search engines might index these pages as different results without a conical tag. In case your own an isolated page, this might not be a big deal.
However, if you stop for a minute to imagine enormous clicks on your websites, this becomes a problem more so if you have a large website.
Now that you understand what canonical tags are and why you need them, let us not look at how to effectively use them.
- Always Use Absolute URLs
When using conical tags, make sure you use the full URL. This is what is referred to as the “absolute” URL.
Search engines do not recognise canonical tags without absolute URLs. The essential elements that make up an absolute URL include the HTTPS element, the www element, domain name, and the .com element.
- Don’t Over Use Canonical Tags
Overusing canonical tags or applying them where they should not tend to confuse search engines. For example, if you specify different URLs as the “master copy,” search engines won’t define which is the index and which one is not.
As a result, search engines might ignore them both.
Ensure you double-check canonical tags before implementation and be extra cautious when selecting a page to canonicalise.
- Ascertain The Accessibility of the Specified URL
Every time you insert a canonical tag, ensure the specified page is accessible. If you mistake adding a conical tag to a page that is not accessible, search engines may be unable to display it.
This means the whole process of adding canonical tags was a waste of time since the page won’t be indexed.
Embracing Canonical Tags to Improve SEO
Canonical tags offer greater control over duplicate pages, positively impacting a site’s SEO ranking. Adding a canonical tag helps Google identify your index URL for ranking.
Also, canonical tags help eliminate duplicate content and pages, thus increasing traffic to your main page.
Canonical tags are an influential SEO tool if used correctly. It’s easy to make mistakes when canonicalising original pages, but through our guide, you should be able to get everything right the first time.
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