The term "canonical" sounds rather religious, don't you think? Actually, "canon" has been used to refer to the authenticity of an author's work, and this is how it's used in the context of SEO. Since early 2009, search engines have supported the use of the canonical tag as a means of sifting duplicate content out of the sites they present to their users.
Despite that, the canonical tag (Syntax: ) isn't being as utilized as it should in this day and age. The reluctance of using this extremely convenient tag is usually due to users not understanding the term canonical or its purpose in the grand scheme of things.
Using the canonical tag is proper SEO practice and should be done when possible to ensure that the popularity of your pages donâ€™t get diluted.
A Guide To Explaining The Canonical Tag
The canonical tag isn't a single-fix for all your SEO problems. It focuses on a specific problem: that of duplicate content and diluted popularity. Generally speaking, most users donâ€™t write duplicate pages for their content. These are usually an automatically generated collection of URL's that the web hosting service provides in order to minimize traffic bottlenecks. Among these pages are:
Multiple URLs for the Same Page: The main offenders of this particular problem are e-commerce sites that have different pages for each option selected for a particular product.
Session ID URLs: These are usually thrown up by the system in order to compensate for cookies or other tracking URL types.
Mirrored Secure Pages: Search engines see HTTP, HTTPS and WWW pages as separate and distinct entities and crawl each one separately.
URL Case: Uppercase and lowercase spelling for web pages are usually directed to the same final page, but this is not always the case.
Mobile Versions: Mobile versions of a page can be crawled as a separate version of the page, even though it contains the exact same content as the original.
Country Specific URLs: Another problem e-commerce sites face since they might have the same content throughout the page but change the country for currency purposes.
These aren't usually duplicate content that is written by the content producer, simply different URL's that give the same content. Search engines don't see them that way and instead store these pages as duplicates. In cases such as these, the canonical tag should be used in order to identify what page is the original. This makes life easier for the search engine which translates into better SEO practice for your site.
How to Use the Canonical Tag
The Canonical tag requires some forethought before you apply it to any particular situation. Basically, what you're trying to do is to tell a search engine that this web page is the preferred one. To this end, you will create a canonical tag inside the
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