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Everything you need to know about the Rel = Canonical tag

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Preface: Everything about the Rel = Canonical tag!

 

Well, let’s summarize, the Canonical tag is a way to help Google identify the top content that is most similar to each other. Simply put, when the Canonical tag (the same code as Rel = Canonical) is placed on a page, Google pays more attention to the address where the tag is entered and certainly indexes that page in search results. he does.

For example, suppose that in an online store, goods are categorized on different pages based on criteria such as the alphabet, cheapest, most expensive, brand name, etc. , but the most important category is the best-selling goods that appear in search results.

However, we encounter pages that are very similar in content but have different URLs, and normally search engines may have a little trouble identifying our preferred page and indexing another URL as the home page. When do you think of a solution?

The best way is to use the Canonical tag to indicate the preference of one of the URLs so that the other URLs are removed from the search results and only the page with the best-selling category is indexed in the results list. In the following, we will try to better explain how to use the canonical tag.

Why is it important to use the Canonical tag?

You may be wondering why a webmaster should generate duplicate pages on their website? As a result, imagine that copied and duplicate content does not seem to be a concern and can be avoided with a little care in content production; But in fact, duplicate content is one of the problems that most webmasters face.

Our misconception about duplicate content stems from the way we look at web pages as a visual concept. Search engines, on the other hand, recognize pages not by concepts, but by a separate URL. For example, imagine that search engines with this number of URLs can access your homepage:

  • http://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.com
  • http://example.com
  • http://example.com/index.php
  • http://example.com/index.php?refer=twitter

To you as a human being, all of these URLs represent a page with the same meaning, but for search engine crawlers, each of these URLs is a unique page. As a result, we have 5 duplicate pages of the main page of the website in this simple example, but in reality, this is only part of the problems you may encounter.

If the number of pages copied on a website is too much, there is a possibility of some SEO problems and it will hurt the site ranking. Today, however, modern content management systems automatically add the Rel = Canonical tag to pages with the same content so that you can easily have thousands of duplicate content on your website.

To better understand this concept, I suggest you read the following article:

 

How to use the Canonical tag

The Canonical tag should be in the Head section of the page, and Google does not pay attention to the tags in the body of the code. This is also a bit of a security issue because some websites allow users to edit code in the body of the site.

As a result, if the canonical tag also works in the body of the site, some people can easily hit the website by placing it. In general, the following code can be used to focus on pages:

</ "link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/">

Thus, to use the canonical tag, you must first enter the page link. After that, you have to enter the code rel = “canonical” and finally, after entering href, enter the address of the new page.

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Important points when using the canonical tag

When using the Canonical tag, it is best to note the following:

  • The Canonical tag can be self-referential: In fact, it is not bad to use the Canonical tag on the page that you prefer; In other words, if the X, Y, and Z addresses have duplicate content and the X address is also known as the home page, it is a good idea to use the Canonical tag on this page as well. enter.
  • Use the Canonical tag on the home page of the website: Since duplicate content on the home page is a common problem for websites, and Internet users may be redirected to your home page with different URLs, it is best to avoid this tag to avoid Use duplicate content and unforeseen problems such as reduced page rank.
  • Avoid sending mixed and ambiguous signals: Search engines may not consider Canonical tags containing ambiguous signals. In simpler terms, than using this tag on page A to refer to page B means (A —> B) while on page B you also point to page A with this tag (B —> A) Avoid. Also, avoid using the canonical tag on page A to point to page B and redirect page B to address A. In both cases, a vague signal is sent to the search engines, and they do not consider the Canonical tag at all because they do not recognize the home page. In addition to the above, do not use this tag as a chain (A-–> B, B-–> C, C –-> D). In general, try to prevent possible search engine errors by sending a simple signal.
  • Use the Canonical tag for pages with relatively similar content: Many of you will probably limit the use of the Canonical tag to pages with the same content, but it is better to use this tag for pages with relatively similar content such as online store product category pages. use. These pages are slightly different from each other, despite the similarity in the type of products, their descriptions, and their spatial arrangement. Keep in mind that non-canonical versions may not be indexed in search results, and on the other hand, search engines may not consider the Canonical tag if the pages are too different.
  • Canonical tags can also be used to link to external pages: You may manage multiple websites at the same time and publish content duplicate (or slightly modified). In these cases, you can use the Canonical tag to control all websites and focus the ranking power on only one of the sites. However, keep in mind that centralization prevents the ranking of illegal websites. Therefore, before using this tag, first, make sure that it works for your business.
  • As mentioned earlier, when the content of pages is very different, search engines like Google are more likely to ignore the Canonical tag and index non-canonical pages in search results. We should thank Google for such a feature, because if the link in this tag is wrong or there is no site at all (error 404), Google will easily recognize this issue and go to the tag and the link placed in it. It does not matter.
  • It is also possible to use multiple Canonical tags on one page. Note, however, that our goal in using this tag is to show the highest value content and pages with similar content!

Canonical tags and social networks!

Facebook and Twitter are well compatible with canonical tags. If you share a URL that canonically points to another address on Facebook, Facebook will share details and information from the focal point. Twitter does the same with the Canonical tag.

Set the Canonical tag in the Yoast plugin

If you use the Yoast plugin in your WordPress content management system, you can easily run the Canonical tag for different pages through this tool. Just go to the Advanced section of the Just plugin and enter an address other than the current page URL in the Canonical URL section.

rel canonical

Canonical or 301 redirect tag is more appropriate?

Given that the Canonical tag can also be used to refer to external addresses, this application tag appears to be similar to a 301 redirect. Simply put, when you decide to change the domain of your website, but the webserver does not allow you to redirect, you can show the domain transfer by placing a Canonical tag on the pages to the search engine crawlers.

However, there is always an important question in this regard. Can the Canonical tag convey the same rank and power as 301 redirects?

Keep in mind that these two solutions give completely different results to search engine crawlers and users. When you redirect page A to page B 301, in addition to search engines, Internet users are automatically redirected to page B and never see page A.

However, if you use the Canonical tag to point page A to page B, only search engines will notice that page B is focal, but Internet users can see both URLs. As a result, it seems that this tag does not have the necessary functionality to completely redirect the pages and transfer their previous rank and power!

Conclusion: Rel = Canonical Powerful tool!

Rel = Canonical is a powerful tool for optimizing your website SEO, but like any other powerful tool, you should use it wisely; Otherwise, this powerful tool will be a disaster for you.

Using the Canonical tag is not a difficult task and anyone can do it easily. Of course, applying this trick to large websites is very important and can have a profound effect on website SEO.

I hope this article has been able to explain how the Rel = Canonical tag works, along with its advantages and disadvantages. If you have a question in this regard, you can share it with us through the comments so that I or my colleagues can answer your questions in the new.

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