Canonical URLs: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

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What Is a Canonical URL?

First implemented by Google successful 2009, canonical URLs and tags are a method solution utilized by webmasters to assistance hunt engines place the archetypal oregon maestro transcript of a web page.

By utilizing a canonical tag, webmasters tin forestall duplicate contented issues by indicating to hunt engines their preferred oregon “canonical” mentation of a web page. 

In this blog post, we volition cover:

What Are Canonical Tags and URLs?

The astir communal mode to specify a canonical URL is done the usage of a canonical tag. Also known arsenic “rel canonical”, the canonical tag is an HTML tag placed successful the <head> conception of a leafage that indicates to hunt engines the preferred URL of a web page. Canonical tags volition look similar this:

<link rel=”canonical”, href=”https://www.preferredurl.com”>

Example:

The enclosed url wrong the href property is known arsenic the canonical URL

Self-Referential Canonical Tags

Canonical tags tin besides beryllium utilized to notation a leafage backmost to itself. This is known arsenic a self-referential canonical tag. While not mandatory, Google recommends utilizing self-referential canonical tags to beryllium explicitly wide which URL should beryllium indexed.

Since Google views adjacent differences successful trailing slashes for the aforesaid leafage arsenic antithetic URLs, utilizing self-referential canonical tags tin guarantee Google is alert of your preferences. 

How to Specify Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs tin beryllium acceptable up successful a assortment of ways successful summation to the canonical tag method mentioned above. Some methods Google provides are

  • Send a rel=canonical header successful your leafage response
  • Specifying canonical pages successful your sitemap
  • Utilizing 301 redirects

Please enactment that Google does not explicitly necessitate webmasters to utilize canonical tags. Google tin place what they construe to beryllium the champion mentation of a leafage oregon URL connected their ain based connected a assortment of leafage signals. 

You tin usage the URL inspection tool recovered wrong Google Search Console to place which URL Google considers canonical.

Why Are Canonical Tags Helpful for SEO?

Multiple URLs for the aforesaid leafage are rather communal arsenic a effect of a tract supporting multiple instrumentality types oregon dynamic URLs. As a result, canonical tags tin beryllium incredibly utile for SEO purposes including, but not constricted to:

  • Specifying which URL you privation radical to spot successful hunt results
    • For example, if you would similar for visitors to sojourn a circumstantial merchandise leafage done https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-ultra-light-down-jacket-443318.html alternatively than the aforesaid merchandise leafage with a flimsy variation, specified arsenic color: https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-ultra-light-down-jacket-443318.html?dwvar_443318_color=COL46.
  • Consolidating nexus signals for akin oregon duplicate pages
    • You tin assistance hunt engines consolidate accusation they person from aggregate URLs into a single, preferred URL. Therefore, https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-ultra-light-down-jacket-443318.html?dwvar_443318_color=COL46 tin person its nexus signals consolidated towards the main merchandise leafage https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-ultra-light-down-jacket-443318.html
  • Simplifying tracking metrics for a azygous merchandise oregon topic
    • You tin consolidate metrics for a azygous web leafage done the usage of canonical tags.
  • Managing syndicated content
    • If you stock syndicated contented connected different domains, you tin guarantee that your preferred URL appears successful SERPs with canonical tags.
  • Limiting crawl clip connected duplicate pages 
    • You tin assistance guarantee Google crawls caller oregon updated versions of pages alternatively than crawling 2 versions of the aforesaid leafage done the usage of canonical tags. 

Best Practices for Canonicalization

Google provides wide guidelines for canonicalization:

  • Use the absolute, lowercase URL of a leafage alternatively than the comparative way erstwhile specifying a canonical URL
    • For example, you volition privation to usage the full URL “https://www.preferredurl.com/green_dress_1” implicit “/green_dress_1” erstwhile specifying a page.
  • Do not usage the robots.txt file to canonicalize pages.
  • Do not usage the URL region instrumentality for canonicalization. The URL removal instrumentality will region each versions of a URL from search. 
  • Do not canonicalize 2 antithetic URLs that constituent to the aforesaid leafage utilizing antithetic methods.
    • For example, bash not specify 1 URL utilizing a sitemap and past besides use a rel=”canonical” connected the aforesaid leafage and specify a antithetic URL from the 1 specified connected the sitemap.
  • Do not usage noindex tags to forestall Google from canonicalizing a page. This tag is meant to exclude a leafage from the index, alternatively than utilized to negociate canonical pages. 
  • Canonical pages should beryllium specified erstwhile utilizing hreflang tags. As Google recommends it — “specifying a canonical leafage successful the aforesaid language, oregon the champion imaginable substitute connection if a canonical leafage does not beryllium for the aforesaid language.” 
  • When internally linking, usage the canonical URL erstwhile possible. Linking consistently to the canonical URL helps Google place your preferences. 
  • Utilize HTTPS implicit HTTP erstwhile possible, arsenic Google prefers the HTTPS domain protocol implicit the HTTP domain protocol for canonical URLs. 

How Should You Use Canonical Tags?

Canonicalization is an incredibly utile instrumentality to assistance marque it easier for Google and different hunt engines to measure your contented and its quality. Ultimately, canonical tags let you to indicate to Google the circumstantial URL/page you privation indexed, thereby helping forestall immoderate imaginable duplicate contented issues. 

Since mounting up canonicals varies connected your contented absorption system, interaction your website head archetypal to larn much astir however to acceptable up canonicals connected your site.