What Is a Canonical Tag & How Does It Improve SEO?
There are aspects of SEO that seems to scare people away due to the perceived complexities involved. Using there are certain things in search engine optimization helps to guarantee that your website will be set up in an ideal way that allows both crawlers and visitors to navigate it easily. Here we will take a look at the how a canonical tag can help to improve SEO results.
What Exactly Is A Canonical Tag
A Canonical tag allows Google and other search engines to understand which page is the original when compared to other similar pages. Many sites will have pages that are almost identical and sometimes completely identical and without the use of a canonical tag those pages could be flagged as duplicate content and receive a penalty for it. The tag itself should be placed in the head section of the HTML code on any page that is considered original content and the page that you want search engines to know is the most important page.
How Does A Canonical Tag Look Like?
The tag is added from the non-canonical page to the canonical one. It is sort of a redirect for the search engines.
How Do You Choose Which Page To Place A Canonical Tag On?
Very often you might have a situation that has several choices, but one page that makes the most sense and that is the one to place the tag on. In some cases, however, it might not be as obvious which page you should choose. In this situation, it is not a problem because all you have to do is simply to choose one. The point of this SEO practice is simply to let the search engines know which page they should consider being the original content so that you avoid a duplicate content penalty. In addition to optimizing the page for the search engines, it also helps visitors as they get directed to the most friendly URL.
How Does The Use Of These Tags Improve SEO Results?
Anytime you have pages that are similar to one another, and you select one of those pages to carry a canonical tag it will improve the overall result of your SEO strategies. The reason for this is that the search engine will know which version is the one they should consider as the original content. The search engines will then count all of the links to all of those pages for the 1 page that carries the tag. It is a way to redirect all traffic to the tagged content without having to do a redirect.
Anyone who has a website which is not very familiar with technical SEO strategies may be wondering what content would need this type of tag. An example will be if you have a site URL: http://www.mysite.com/mytopic.HTML, and http://www.mysite.com/mytopic/?cmpgn=Facebook. These pages are essentially the same and could be flagged as duplicate content without the use of a canonical tag. Often e-commerce sites have multiple pages that are very similar because they may be advertising the same pair of shoes in different colors or other items that have different choices and because of the similarity between the pages the search engines could flag those as duplicate content, and this can be avoided with the use of this type of tag.
Is It Possible To Use This Type Of Tag Across More Than One Domain?
There are times when a webmaster may have the same content across more than one domain. There are also cases where websites have an agreement to share content and so the shared content of one site, when used on the other, will have a canonical tag that allows the original site to get credit for the traffic that comes to the page. This gives the site using the content the ability to use another person’s original content while also allowing the original creator of the content to receive benefits from the use of their content on another person’s site.
While a canonical tag may seem like a technical aspect of SEO, it is relatively easy to implement and will substantially add to the overall results of your SEO strategies. It is highly recommended by experienced SEO experts and even by Google to improve the user’s experience and the ability for search engines to understand your site better.