Please enable JS

What is a canonical tag?

Introduction

While working on Visit Murter I realized that I display almost the same content on two different URLs. You can see here on Destinations - Murter - Beaches - Slanica that the content is almost the same as is in Explore - Beaches - Slanica.

The reason why we need the same content on both URLs is because of the way that the users come to that content.

The first URL is related to the destination Murter and its beaches:

https://visitmurter.com/destinations/murter/explore/beaches/slanica

The users come to this page by first picking a destination on the island and then exploring it.

While the second URL is related to all destinations on the island Murter and its beaches:

https://visitmurter.com/explore/beaches/slanica

The users come to this page by first choosing to explore everything on the island regardless of the destination.

The difference between those two sites is in the provided navigation. On the destinations Murter page, the navigation provides you with links to everything that you can see/do on that destination (Murter, Betina, Jezera, Tisno, NP Kornati), while on the explore page the navigation provides you with links to everything that you can see/do on the whole island.

I Hope that this makes sense to you.

So, where does the canonical tag come into play?

The canonical tag

The canonical tag tells search engines which version of the URL you want to appear in the search results.

Having same content on different URLs is bad because search engines see that the same content is on both URLs and then they rank only one of those URLs. By setting the canonical tag you are in control of which URL is to be displayed in the search results.

Using canonicalization helps you control your duplicate content.

I bet that you did not know this

Search crawlers might be able to reach your homepage in all of the following ways:

To a human being, all of the above URLs represent a single page. To a search crawler, every one of the above URLs is a unique page. By setting the canonical tag to a specific URL (master copy of a page) we are telling search engines that all other URLs are a copy (duplicate) of the page provided in the canonical tag.

In the case above, setting the canonical tag to let's say http://laravelista.com will increase the SEO ranking for that URL by 50%. It's like you are merging the SEO ranking for those URLs into one.

How do I apply this knowledge to my website

The first step is ultra easy.

  1. Canonicalize your home page

Add this HTML meta tag to you head section:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://yourdomain.goeshere" />

Replace https://yourdomain.goeshere with your actual domain and protocol that you want to rank for on search engines. This will have huge benefits for your website rankings.

  1. Examine if you have duplicate content and place the canonical tag accordingly

If you have like me same content on two URLs you can place the canonical tag on the page which you don't want to be ranked (duplicate), to point the page that you want to rank (master copy). Also, you can place the canonical tag on the page that you want to rank (master copy) and point it to that same page. Both parts are important.

Example

Your master copy page URL is http://domain.com/content-a and your duplicate page URL is http://domain.com/content-b. On the master copy page you should place this canonical tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://domain.com/content-a" />

And on your duplicate page/s you should place this canonical tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://domain.com/content-a" />

URL http://domain.com/content-a will be ranked, and the ranking from http://domain.com/content-b will go towards http://domain.com/content-a.


Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend!

Sources

Credits

  • Cover image OS created by prod
0


Related Posts

Comments/ 0


Leave a Comment

You need to login to leave a comment.

Login
Tags
42

Find the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, here you will.

Newsletter