Canonical tag can be defined as a indicator that a specific url is a copy of a page.Canonical tags helps in avoiding the problems of duplicate content that is present on number of url’s.
The tag helps the search engine to identify which url should be visible in the search engine results page.
The canonical tag is important to be included on your page,if its not present it can cause you problem such as not being visible in the search engine’s result.
Let us understand why it is important to include canonical tag ?
When it comes to SEO Duplicate content can be a serious problem because when the search engine crawls any website with the idenditical or duplicate content website ranking may suffer in search engine’s result.
Suppose you achieve your ranking the search engine crawlers can pick up the wrong url as the original one in the search engine result page.So if you are using canonical tag this problems can be avoided.
Search engine crawlers vision to every url
Search engine crawlers view every single ur as a individual url,and there’s where the problem of duplicate content arises.
We humans see url’s with or without “wwww” specified in it as the same page. For example:
This above url’s are all same to a human as they links to a same page but for the search engine crawler’s they all are unique url’s.
So what are the best practices of canonical tags that can help you
- Add a canonical tag to your homepage
It is quite a common scenario of duplication of homepages,many individuals are out there that can link to your homepage and even ways that you can’t control.
So it is better to be safe than to be sorry so add a canonical tag to your home page as a prevention.
- Self referential canonicals
Self canonical tag’s are like that tag pointing to the current url in which you are adding that canonical tag.
In a more simpler language its like pointing your finger to yourself.You got a idea right so you can use self canonical’s too for pages.
- Monitor your canonical tags
It is not quite common but sometimes a bad code can cause change canonical of every url which makes all the point of adding canonical tag useless.
So it is better to check all every canonical for any changes and then rectify it.
- Don’t confuse search engine crawlers
Avoid confusing search engine crawlers by giving them mixed signals like linking a website to another one and then again that another website to previous one.
Suppose A is linked to B then B is linked to A,this is a practice you should avoid.Also avoid linking A to B,B to C then C to D.
- Avoid similar content canonicalization
In canonicalization many think its only about the exact duplicate contents but it can be also about very similar content,and there you have to be cautious.
Generally it is not an issue to add canonical tags to similar pages.Similar pages like the payment gateway,location or contact us pages that differ by a very small amount.
But keep a note that the pages that are not canonicalized should not be eligible for ranking.
- Only canonicalize the site you want to boost ranking.
Suppose you are the publisher of a particular company that is publishing the articles not on the single site but different sites,you can add a canonical tag to just single one and boost ranking of that particular site.
Also keep a note that the process of canonicalization will be avoiding other sites from ranking in search engine results.
So this are the best practices of canonicalization that you can apply in your SEO.