What does canonical mean? The whole canonical story is that Google is very sensitive to duplicate content.The canonical tag is used to introduce the primary version of a page to search engines. If there are different URLs for the same content on a website, this tag can be used to tell search engines which version of the URL is the original version and solve the problem of duplicate content and finally rank the content.
Does Google pay attention to the canonical tag?
When Google bots crawl the URLs that contain duplicate content; They have to prefer one of those contents to another and index that URL as the main URL, which means the URL of the page. Now with this popular canonical tag you can tell Google which URL is the main one. In this case, you should consider that setting the Canonical tag does not mean 100% which page is canonical, because at the end google will decide .
How to use canonical tag?
the canonical tag is inserted in the <head> section of a page. When you add “rel” canonical tag, it should always point to the main page). The code looks like this:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://example.com/primary-page”/>
Some Examples of Duplicate pages
Anyway, no SEO professional will produce pages with the same content, so why pages with duplicate content may be on your site?
· Multiple URLs: These URLs are generated on store sites by changing variables such as price, color, and different categories, such as the best products or bestsellers.
· HTTP, HTTPS versions with and without WWW A site:
They all point to the same page; These URLs are indexed separately in Google. (This problem can be solved with a redirect code or a Redirect 301 code.)
· Different URLs for Mobile: If the URLs of your pages are different from those of the desktop user when a mobile user visits your site, consider m.example.com for the mobile version of example.com.
· Some websites have shorter URLs to share their content on social networks and this URL is not redirected, they solved the problem of duplicate content with canonical tags.
· Note that in the examples we mentioned, duplicate content is not necessarily generated, but it is the multiplicity of URLs that results in duplicate content on the same pages .
Example of two products with Canonical Tag
As an example we have two products, a green shoe and a red shoe. The URLs look like this:
Let’s assume that we’ve determined the green shoe is the main version of the two products.
That means we’ll need to implement the canonical tag in the <head> section of the red shoe product page. That will look something like this:
<link rel=”canonical” href=” www.example.com/product/green-shoe”>
Frequently asked Questions on Canonical tag:
- Does the canonical tag transfer the authority of one page links? In this case, we are not very sure that the authority of the page is transmitted. Unlike a 301 redirect, the canonical tag is not a strong signal for the one-page authority transmission.
- Can we force the search engine to use its canonical tag? No. The canonical tag has only a guide and suggestion mode to the search engine.
- Canonical is better or Redirect 301? If the old page has any unique value for the user, use the canonical, but if it has no value, use Redirect 301.Because by directing incoming traffic to the main pages that have richer content, you will get the desired page rank.
As a result if you want to get a very quick result for a page and your old page has no value ,use redirect 301, because canonical tag is considered as a suggestion to search engines.