In today’s world, duplicate content can lead to search engines becoming confused about the correct page to return to a user. We want to make the job of a search engine easier by clearly focusing them on the right pages to return to users through proper canonicalization. By properly employing canonical tags to your webpages, you can take advantage of having a robust site while following a Best Practices approach to Search Engine Optimization.
A canonical tag specifies the source URL (or original content page) of a given webpage to a search engine. Canonical tags are used to declare a single page as its own source, or for duplicate pages, to reference their source / originating page. Search engines use these tags when assigning ranking value for that content and to identify the correct page to return to a user within search results. For instance, let’s say you have a product that lives at:
but the same product can also be accessed at:
Search engines, such as Google, see these as 2 different pages. This can be problematic as the search engines may not know which page is the most valuable to return to the user.
Generally, you should put the tag on as many pages as possible since there may be instances of having the same, or similar, content which you may not be aware of. All of the paths that can be crawled and contain duplicate content, could potentially lead to issues.
In the end, implementing canonical tags to help eliminate duplicate content issues is generally simple and can have a broad impact on your SEO efforts. When properly implemented, you can help cut down on duplicate content issues, pass link authority between your pages more effectively, and help search engines crawl your site more effectively, ultimately leading to improved rankings.
It’s important to note that incorrect implementation can lead to big issues. If you’re going to implement a canonical tag on your website, you must ensure it’s correct before deploying it. If you’re unsure whether your site has issues with duplicate content or is not following SEO Best Practices, please contact us and we can help.