What is rel=canonical tag (URL) and how to use?

What is rel=canonical tag (URL) and how to use?

The rel=canonical tag or URL is very important for seo and ranking but newbies and many of us take this as lightly but here we are going to see how it matters.

rel=canonical tag

What is rel=canonical tag and how to use canonical tag for best seo ?

What is rel=Canonical tag?

A rel=canonical tag (canonical URL) is a way to indicate the main source of information, or we can say with the help of canonical URL we can tell search engine that all this URL are not different but all of them are one.

It is just a html link tag with attribute rel=canonical

Why should use canonical tag?

The first and big issue is of duplicate content, to prevent this issue we should use canonical tag.

For example my website is www.earnonblog.com

and the alternatives are:-

1.) earnonblog.com

2.) www.earnonblog.com

3.) http://earnonblog.com

4.) http://www.earnonblog.com

If you type anyone from this in address bar then obviously open same webpage.

We know that all the URL given above is same but for search engine crawler all of them are different, all are unique.

And thus the issue of duplicate content occurs. So, if we use canonical tag then we can prevent this issue of duplicate content.

What happen exactly when we not use canonical tag?

SEO:-

When we not using canonical tag then obviously it harms seo.
Because the seo need to be perfect, and here the issue occurred.

Search engine crawlers:-

Many times it happens that the e-commerce website like amazon have a same product with many URL for different countries and for different languages, but the products are same.
So,It is very difficult for search engine crawlers to differentiate all this URL and to decide which one is the original.
May be it happens that the search engine crawler may choose the wrong URL to rank.
And thus the ranking of preferred URL will be drop down.

Duplicate content:-

As we see above the issue of duplicate content occurs when not using canonical tag. because in all this URL information is same, content is same.
But the variants of URL are different.

Search engine ranking with out canonical tag:

With out canonical tag your website’s search engine ranking may drop down.
Because the search engines are never like duplicate content and bad seo practice.

Know how to increase search engine ranking using google analytics.

How to use canonical tag?

To use canonical tag perfectly, suppose we have two different URL with the exactly same content.
May be some color or minor changes, then which URL will you choose as a original or preferred and which URL we choose as duplicate?
The rel=canonical tag helps us to do this.

For example i have a e-commerce website and there is a shoes in it.
the first URL is http://www.earnonblog.com/shoes/nike/
and the second one is http://www.earnonblog.com/nike-shoes/
Now which one should i choose as a original and which one as a duplicate.
By the way i choose http://www.earnonblog.com/nike-shoes/ as a original and other as a duplicate.

Tip:- You can choose which one is more important or which one you want to rank high, if this doesn’t matter then choose any one from it.

Now the main part, how to use canonical tag or URL.
Add the rel=canonical tag from non canonical URL to the canonical, means from duplicate to the real one.
Or we can say the duplicate to the preferred which you want to rank high in search engine.
In above example i choose /nike-shoes as a canonical so from the other one to this.
It is very simple process just add

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.earnonblog.com/nike-shoes/”>

to the non-canonical page’s head section.
Now it’s done.
Do the same process for all non-canonical URL or page.

Advantages of using rel=canonical tag:-

First of all if we use rel=canonical tag then there is no need to 301 redirects.
It helps search engine crawlers to understand that this URL is preferred one and all others are variants.
So, to rank only this URL and also prevent duplicate content issue.
If all this process complete correctly then definitely it improves seo.

Miss use or wrongly applied rel=canonical tag:-

If there is no same content but then any user use rel=canonical tag then google or any search engine may ignore your tag for your website.
And it is bad for search engine optimization.
And if the process continue then may google will no longer trust your website and thus your website will be removed from search engine result.
So, always try to correct use of rel=canonical tag, don’t miss use of it.

What happens if canonical URL points to other domain?

If canonical URL from your website is points at any other domain or any different website then the search engine will take your website as a duplicate content and the pointed one as a source of information.
Means search engine will rank pointed website instead of your website.
The visitors and links comes to your website will be counted as pointed website’s links and ranks high.

google says that every webpage has must a canonical tag pointing to self. It is good for search engine optimization.

Rel=canonical VS 301 Redirects:-

If rel=canonical tag used in page 2 pointing at page 1, and if visitor comes to page 2 then they will see page 2 but the traffic and links counted as comming to page 1.
And thus search engine will rank page 1.
And in 301 redirects if visitor comes to page 2 then they will redirected to page 1, means they will see page 1.
Don’t try to use multipal rel=canonical tag in one webpage, it leads to problems.

27 thoughts on “What is rel=canonical tag (URL) and how to use?

  1. Let me put this down on my long list of ‘Things Elsie didn’t know’. Thanks for always being my go-to guy for tech advice.

  2. Hi there,
    I was really looking for a detailed step by step guide to do this because I was really confused about doing this.
    Thanks a lot, buddy.
    Keep posting good stuff. Cheers.

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