Canonical URL : Boost your website's ranking

Canonical URLs, determined by website owners, aid search engines in determining which page to index and display in search results, thereby improving SEO and preventing duplicate content issues.

canonical url

What is a Canonical URL

Canonical URLs are a search engine optimization strategy that assists in avoiding the issue of duplicate content. It increases your website’s appearance on search results pages and helps search engines index your website.

The search engine has successfully indexed the page. Which usually lowers the website’s rank on search engines. Therefore, canonical URLs are crucial.

what is a canonical url

What is a canonical URL? 

Search engines use canonical URLs to find which web pages need to be listed on search engines. It is crucial because it assists in avoiding the issue of similar content.

Why are canonical URLs required?

A canonical URL is required for the following reasons:

  • Avoid duplicate content: Using the same content on web pages can confuse the search engine in ranking.
  • A canonical URL ensures a better experience for visitors: A canonical URL helps provide a better experience for visitors. Visitors can get the desired results through the URL.
  • Canonical URLs increase search engine optimization: If the search engine knows about your content page and preferred version, it can assist you in improving your website’s rank on search engines.

What are the benefits of using canonical URLs?

The various advantages of using Canonical URLs are as follows:

Avoiding duplicate content: Similar content on web pages can lower your website’s ranking on search engines.

For example, a digital marketing company can have various web pages with similar products on each page and a unique URL. Using a canonical URL will assist search engines in considering the main web page and indexing it accordingly.

Increase search engine optimization: Canonical URLs assist search engines in identifying the main web page, which also increases its ranking on search result pages.

For example, a marketing company may have different pages, and using a canonical URL Improving your website’s optimization helps it rank higher on search engines, increasing visibility to potential visitors.

Increasing visitors’ experience: Canonical URLs ensure a better experience for visitors. Use this link to go directly to the main page.

For example, a marketing company must have contact details on its web page, and by using a canonical URL, your visitors can directly reach this page without making any effort, which makes their experience better.

Lessen the bounce rate: These rates reflect the number of people who leave your website after a one-page view. Using a canonical URL will reduce the bounce rate and engage visitors to your website.

For example, a marketing company can have a home tab and tabs related to its services. Using a canonical URL lets your visitors directly reach the main service page, which lessens the bounce rate and encourages visitors to search more about your website.

Increase the engagement of visitors: Canonical URLs increase visitors’ engagement on your website and make it easy for visitors to access the information on your website.

For example, a marketing company may have frequently asked questions on all their web pages, but by using a canonical URL, visitors can easily gain access to the FAQ.

Assist search engines in indexing your website: Canonical URLs assist search engines in indexing your website, which increases the ranking of websites on search engine pages.

For example, a marketing company may have different pages with similar content. The use of canonical URLs assists search engines in determining that pages are identical and do not contain similar content.

Prevent penalties by the search engine: Canonical URLs are helpful in preventing your website from getting penalized by the search engine. It helps in avoiding penalties by providing information to search engines regarding the main page that needs to be indexed.

What are the ways to use a canonical URL?

A canonical URL must also be added to a canonical link to the head section> of the HTML code. The canonical URL links are as follows:

<link rel= “canonical” href=””>

Here, the href is the attribute of the URL of the canonical page.

Canonical URLs can be used in HTTP headers by adding the following header to server configuration:

Header set content-disposition: attachment; filename = canonical/

The parameter filename specifies the file name that includes the canonical link.

What are the best practices for using canonical URLs?

Various practices need to be followed for using canonical URLs:

Using a canonical URL on all the web pages that have similar content: You must use a canonical URL if your content is similar on web pages.

For example, if you have a web page related to products with similar information, you can use a canonical URL to emphasize the main web page.

Using the rel=’canonical’ tag in the head section of HTML code, the href is an attribute of the URL of the rel=canonical tag that specifies the preferred version of your web page.

For example: <link rel=canonical href=>

Use one canonical URL on one page: You must use one canonical URL on one page. If you use various URLs on a single page, it will create confusion for search engines.

Use an updated canonical URL: You need to update the canonical URL along with the changes in content. That assists search engines in providing the latest information on your web page.

Avoid 404 Canonical URL: 404 is a sign of error, and using this in a Canonical URL may confuse search engines. The search engine may show “page doesn’t exist “if you use 404.

Ensure the emphasis is on the canonical URL on the latest version of the web page: It means the updated content.

For example, If you have a content page related to products, then you need to use the canonical URL for the updated information related to products.

Use of the self-reference tag: These tags point to oneself. You must use a reference canonical tag if you have pages in various languages. It helps search engines index the correct webpage.

Avoid non-canonical URLs from the sitemap: Sitemaps inform search engines about your website’s structure and content. Using non-canonical URLs in sitemaps can create confusion for search engines that can index those pages.

What are the disadvantages of canonical URLs?

The disadvantages of a canonical URL are as follows:

  • It doesn’t prevent all identical content issues: If your web page has similar content but is different. It may create confusion, and search engines may index both web pages.
  • Search engines sometimes can’t consider it: Search engines may index all identical pages if they cannot understand the canonical URL.
  • It can’t redirect traffic. It is necessary to use 301 redirects if you want to redirect visitors to your identical pages.

What are the mistakes made while using canonical URLs?

You can use these suggestions to avoid mistakes while using a canonical URL:

Avoid the use of canonical URLs on identical content pages: It is a mistake that people often commit. They didn’t use canonical URLs on the content pages that are duplicates.

Use various canonical URLs on one page: Using different canonical URLs on one page can confuse search engines when indexing your website.

Use of an outdated canonical URL: You need to keep your canonical URL updated with the changes in content.

Use of a canonical URL for an irrelevant page: If you use a canonical URL for the least important page, then the search engine may not correctly index your page.

What is the difference between a canonical URL and a redirect?

Characteristics Canonical URL Redirect
ObjectiveAssist search engines in finding the preferred versionRedirect the visitors to URL
Implementationrel= “canonical” tag is head section of HTML code<Meta> tag as head section of HTML code
Impact on visitorsIt doesn’t impact on visitors views on your websiteIt has impact on visitors and you may lose the traffic on your website.
Useful inAvoiding the issue of the duplicate content and restricting search engines from indexing multiple web pages.It fixes the link that is broken
PracticeIt’s used on similar content web pages. Use of single canonical URL etc.Use of correct redirect code and prior test to check its functioning
Impact on visitorsIt doesn’t provide any effect on visitorsIt provides effect on visitors.

How to find out if the canonical URL is functioning?

The various ways through which you can find the functioning of a canonical URL are:

  • Use of a checker tool: You can find various available tools free of charge. These tools help find the page without having a canonical URL.
  • Using Search Console: This tool measures your website’s performance. Google Search Console is useful for finding out the indexing status of your website by Google.
  • Observe the page’s source code: The source code must contain the rel=”canonical” tag in the head section of the HTML code. A text editor can help you find source code.

How do we avoid issues related to canonical URLs?

The various things that need to be considered for avoiding canonical URL-related issues are:

  • You must ensure the use of the rel=canonical URL tag in the head section of the HTML code for each page with a canonical URL.
  • You must ensure the canonical URL points to the right page.
  • You need to check the duplicate canonical URL. One page should have only one canonical URL.
  • You must check for an error in the rel=canonical tag”. The rel=canonical tag must not include any space in the HTML code.
  • You must ensure the accessibility of the canonical URL to the search engine. Google won’t index your file if it doesn’t find access to the canonical URL.

How does Google handle canonical URLs?

Canonical URLs assist search engines in finding the preferred version. The search engine may need clarification about which pages need to be indexed in its absence.

Canonical URLs are handled by Google when finding out which pages need to be indexed. Canonical URL pages will be indexed by Google rather than the original if a web page has a canonical URL.

Google uses this URL to avoid issues related to duplicate content. In the case of various identical pages, Google finds the main page.

The various other sources through which Google handles the canonical URL are:

  • Google does not use canonical URLs: Canonical URLs assist Google in understanding the web pages and increase search engine optimization.
  • Canonical URLs can be avoided by Google if misused: If canonical URLs are not correctly used, then Google can prevent them. Therefore, you must ensure its use correctly.
  • Google does: not stick to the canonical URL. In some cases, Google does not stick to the canonical URL. If the page does not exist and contains a canonical URL, then Google will index the original page.

These are the ways to handle Canonical URLs by Google.

  • A canonical URL must be used for an existing page. Canonical URLs must be used correctly so that Google can index them.
  • Google can index the original page if the canonical URL doesn’t exist or isn’t used correctly.
  • Google will index your original page if you use various canonical URLs on a single page.
  • Google will index the updated web page if it observes some modifications in the canonical URL.

Google’s handling is flexible, and Google does not stick to the canonical URL. You can monitor how Google handles your website’s canonical URL using Google Search Console.

Frequently Asked Questions

A canonical URL can be used for images or videos. Whether your content has images or videos, you can use the canonical URL for the preferred version of the content.
Canonical URLs have coding in machine language that is readable by search engines.

If your pages are identical, you must use a canonical URL. If your pages are different from each other, you are not required to use a canonical URL.

Various canonical URLs for the same pages may need to be clarified for search engines when indexing your website.

You won’t get a higher rank on the search engine, and it may also affect your website indexing if you do not use canonical URLs.

You have to observe the source code, and you can use tools like Google Console and text checker tools to check the use of canonical URLs on your website.

You can use a canonical URL for images or any other type of content. If you have duplicate videos or images on multiple pages, you can use a canonical URL to specify the preferred content version.

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