What Are Canonical Tags?

Canonical Tags

February 5th, 2022   |   Updated on August 23rd, 2022

Have you ever wondered how search engines are able to suggest one URL over another? This is the power of search engine optimization (SEO), the process by which companies get their websites front and center for users to click on based on the words they type into Google.

However, there is a coding aspect to making these search results work in a company’s favor. That’s where a canonical tag can come into play.

What Is A Canonical Tag?

A canonical tag is an HTML tag that tells websites like Google which URL is the primary version of the “master copy” of content. These tags give site owners the ability to suggest one URL for a search engine to designate as the preferred page to appear in searches by users.

Canonical tags also prevent SEO issues that arise from duplicated content. These simple HTML link elements are inserted into the header of a webpage, improving the quality of search results.

This tag tells the crawler to index the primary page to benefit traffic to that single page. A canonical URL indicates to search engines which page should be displayed to a user in their results, promoting greater organic search visibility.

The canonical URL appears within the canonical tag. The canonical URL is the hyperlink reference element within that particular tag. This denotes the exact URL that should be considered the canonical version of that particular source content that a webpage is providing via a user search and is eager to get a gauge on user experience.

Why Does Canonicalization Matter?

When it comes to sites that generate ad revenue, businesses want to make sure that they are taking every opportunity to put the best URL forward in search engine results.

Canonicalization tells Google which of their URLs should be indexed, allowing companies and brands to funnel search engine users to the highest-value page.

Furthermore, as you track your search metrics across the internet, you want to compile all organic searches for one page under the same URL. These tags ensure only the specified page will receive metrics.

Many websites build backlinks through content syndication. However, developing original content can be a timely and costly investment.

Through syndicated relationships, you can provide users with high-quality content through third-party websites and still build your own library and brand visibility in your respective marketplace. Without these tags, search engines will not know whether to index your site for the article or the third-party URL.

What’s Wrong With Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content may just sound like a copy-and-paste job, but it’s actually a problem for your specific page in the SEO realm. When identical or very similar content is indexed, it can confuse search engines on what to display or even register a negative ranking signal for your original content.

A canonical tag is one of just a few ways that you can influence how a search engine presents your site to searchers. Canonicalization also prevents you from getting penalized for this duplicate content through the likes of PageRank.

For the best SEO, these tags need to be throughout your website, avoiding the presence of duplications that can damage a single product for various reasons in the search realm. By updating your existing pages, you’ll want to continue to implement the canonicalization best practices.

You can use the Сanonical Сhecker by Sitechecker to determine the canonical tags of an HTML web page
on your or other websites.

The first step is to identify which URL version of your pages should be the canonical URLs. Google prefers if your links are consistent in formatting, making your and their lives easier. It’s through these technical elements that you can make your brand a leader in your respective marketplace.