What are canonical tags?
The word ‘canonical’ in the language of search engines, is the preferred version of a site’s URL that is given importance by all the major search engines. It tells us whether the ‘www’ prefix is used in the URL or not. The canonical tag is a little piece of code that sits in the header of your web page along with your Meta tags. A canonical tag would look like this – <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domain.com/” />
What is the use of Canonical tags from an SEO’s point of view?
Canonical tags serve as a guiding factor to divert the link popularity of web pages you would want to avoid, so preventing search engines from diluting popularity over duplicate content. These tags are extensively used to elaborate the details about the versions of web pages that are considered for search engine indexes.
Who recommend having Conical Tags?
Yahoo!, Live & Google announced that they will be supporting a new “canonical url tag” to help webmasters and site owners eliminate self-created duplicate content in websites.
What are the disadvantage of duplicate content?
Sites suffer rankings and traffic loss, and search engines suffer lowered relevancy. Thus, in order to overcome these problems, search engines recommend the use of new Canonical URLs.
How, When & Where Should SEOs Use This Tag?
SEOs suggest you to have Canonical URL tags applied whenever any of the following scenarios arise:
– WWW versus Non-WWW
You website generates the share multiple links to go to same page. Like http://www.example.com & http://example.com will lead to same page
– Pagination or Filtering
When there are multiple pages in a website that could have the similar content; i.e. either the products are similar but only differ by color or other options, or the pages are produced by different sort orders like “by price” or some other variable, that essentially produces the same content.
– Tracking Codes or Session IDs
Many technologies require that you add a tracking variable on the end of URLs that either link to your site or link internally. The format is similar to www.example.com?tracking-variable or might look like www.example.com/example.htm?tracking-code
Here are some classic variations of the home page URL.
With the canonical tag, you can specify your preferred version of a page’s URL. In the case of the home page, it should be http://www.domain.com/ or http://domain.com/, depending upon the version you choose to be your standard domain name.
The canonical tag is a link tag that should be placed in the head section of a web page.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domain.com/” />
These tags are meant to help Google; the search engine to understand a site’s web pages and identify which ones belongs to results demanded from a search engine. Recent updates by Google have been helpful in increasing the importance of canonical tags, letting you know which website is a good source of information from among the pages that you may require to duplicate for displaying similar information at other destinations.
If all the canonical tags happen to refer only the main page of your website, then other inner pages would disappear from the search engine results. To be on the safer side it is advised to place canonical tags on real canonical page.
These tags are widely used by SEO experts all over the world to help search engines control indexing of web content, and the application of link popularity between the web pages. For example if your website has printer friendly web pages then specify the ones that needs to be indexed. It’s extremely helpful for eCommerce website in many situations like, if your site has many product pages in the shopping cart for a similar product, then you can show visitors the results which is the best match for the search engines, thereby affecting the ranking too.
Canonical tags are very helpful in generating maximum link popularity of a duplicate page by highlighting the original one from among all duplicates.