Canonical URL And Why It Is Important - Semalt Expert

Table of Content

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a Canonical URL?
  3. Why are they so important for SEO?
  4. How to Create Canonical Tags
  5. When and How to Use Canonical URL
  6. Mistakes to Avoid when implementing Canonical URL
  7. Conclusion


Using canonical URLs is a useful technique that makes it easier for Google and other search engines to assess the caliber of your material. Search engines are effectively directed to the URLs you want them to index via canonical tags. It assists web administrators in resolving difficulties with duplicate material and promoting the originals. It's a Canon paper! This is one of the terms frequently used to describe original, innovative content that is free from any traces of plagiarism. 

Knowing the definition of "canon" can help you better comprehend canonical URLs, canonical tags, canonicalization, and how it affects web pages. You may learn more about canonical URLs in this post, including how they function, how crucial they are to your website's SEO, and how to make them. Let's get going!

What is a Canonical URL?

A Canonical URL distinguishes between the original version of a set of pages and other duplicated pages. It is a tool for distinguishing between original and duplicate content. This is accomplished by indexing the Canonical URL into Google, with the results appearing in the user's search results. When a Canonical URL is properly configured, search engines only index this source, preventing duplicate content issues. The URL employs a canonical tag, an HTML specification, in the website source code's header area. 

To overcome search engine-related problems with similar or duplicate information, employ canonical tags, which inform search engines of the existence of a standard resource or, more important, a website. Canonical tags are used in SEO to inform Google which version of a page to show in search results, combine link equity from duplicate pages, and enhance your website's crawling and indexing.

Why are they so important for SEO?

The primary purpose of canonical URLs is to inform search engines about the original versions of content. Aside from the primary purpose of canonical URLs, some essential SEO benefits come with them, which include the following:

1. It helps to Specify the preferred URL to be displayed In search results

Using a canonical URL or tag helps to know which version of the website to display. Some SEO-related issues can arise from plagiarized content, and this is quite difficult for search engines to know which one to rank. Because of this, they consequently overlook some of your authoritative information.

2. It helps with the management of syndicated content

Using canonical tags, you can detect the website with the copied or republished content and the website with the original version of the content, as it has been shown that many website owners tend to copy and paste content from other websites for different purposes. In cases like this, setting up canonical URLs helps to discover and allow only the contents from the source to be displayed in Google search results and promoted.

3. It helps to improve crawling

Canonical tags make it easier for search engines like Google to efficiently crawl pages that are meant to be crawled and indexed and prevent the copied version of the same content from being crawled. This favors the website with the original content and helps them stand out from duplicates.

4. It helps to consolidate page rank

Multiple external sources frequently provide backlinks to copied pages. As a result, these pages partially replace the original version of the page in terms of link equity. Canonical tags allow for the transfer of PageRank from duplicate pages into a single URL, raising that URL's overall ranking in Google Search.

How to Create Canonical Tags

Canonical tags give a distinct feature to the preferred URL of a site. The following are ways to create canonical tags on different websites:
  1. Shopify: Shopify is an online e-commerce company. Canonical URLs/tags are significant in aiding smooth operation when using Shopify. Identifying canonical pages in a page's HTML or HTTP headers can be done in two ways. In Shopify, you can set custom canonical URLs if needed. The default setting for Shopify is to include self-referencing canonical URLs for blog posts and products. However, to add a canonical tag in Shopify, start by opening your Shopify admin panel. Go to Sales channels, and click on Online store. From there, you can click on Themes, then go to action. It will bring the option of "Edit code" to create your canonical tag.
  2. Wix: Wix is a website builder in the cloud that also offers online hosting and design services. The website automatically generates and configures Canonical URLs as a standard for all your pages. It can, however, be changed as needed. Access your WIX account. Look for the website where you wish to alter the Canonical URL tag. Select the edit icon (the one which looks like a pencil). From the 'Site Menu,' select the page you want to check or change. From the three dots next to the page name, select 'SEO (Google).' Choose the 'Advanced SEO' option. Scroll down to the section titled "Canonical URL." Fill in your new Canonical URL in the field and press the 'Publish' button.
  3. WordPress: WordPress is an open-source content management system for creating websites and blogs. Using a WordPress SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or RankMath is a quick and easy approach to setting canonical URLs. With Yoast SEO, you can update the canonical URL since it does an outstanding job of auto-selecting the proper canonical URL for most articles and pages. When using the RankMath SEO plugin, you can change the canonical URL under the RankMath meta box's advanced tab. It will set canonical URLs for you but also allows you to update them as needed. Yoast SEO will automatically generate a canonical meta tag for any page/post/archive page and use the permalink of that page as its canonical value. Normally, you would leave the Canonical URL value blank in the plugin, and the canonical tag would be set to the same value as the page's permalink.

Mistakes to Avoid when implementing Canonical URL

Below are mistakes to be avoided when using Canonical URLs:

1. Using multiple canonical tags

Using various canonical tags for the same page is one of the most typical canonicalization mistakes. A theme, SEO extensions, your CMS, etc., could add them. Whatever the cause, having several rel=canonical declarations sends the wrong signals to search engine crawlers. The canonicals will all be completely disregarded as a result. There should be at most one canonical tag per page. Canonical tags aim to identify the preferred page among a group of pages with duplicate content. You should use up to one canonical tag on one page because each series can only have one preferred page.

2. Combining With Redirects

Avoid using canonical tags in conjunction with redirects. You can designate the preferred page in a series of pages with duplicate content using canonical tags and redirects. Redirects, such as 301 or 302 status code redirects, use redirection technologies to send search engines and visitors to the desired page. It is futile to combine canonical tags and redirects. You can use either of these solutions to optimize the duplicate content on your website. Combining redirects with canonical tags with redirects, on the other hand, raises the possibility of error. If you input the incorrect page address for a redirect, search engines may rank that page instead of the desired page specified in the canonical tag.

3. Prohibiting Crawling

Another error to avoid is forbidding search engines from indexing websites that use canonical tags. A canonical tag is used to inform search engines which page is preferred. However, to honor the canonical tag, search engines must still crawl the page that contains it. If you prevent search engines from crawling a page containing a canonical tag, they won't be able to see it or honor it. Search engines may even rank the page with the canonical tag. The disallow robots directive does not prevent search engines from crawling a page; it just prevents them from ranking it.

4. Placing a canonical tag on the Body

To ensure your canonical tag is noticed, you should include it at the top of the page instead of the bottom. To avoid it being thrown into the body during parsing, add the canonical URL early in the head section. By putting a canonical tag in the body of a page, search engines will ignore it. They will still crawl the full page, but the canonical tag will be ignored. Search engines ignore canonical tags in the body and other non-head elements. As a result, the page with the canonical tag may rank, while the recommended page may not.

5. Incorrect relative URLs

Link> tags, like many other HTML tags, accept both absolute and relative URLs. However, people often need to correct the error of specifying absolute URLs when using canonical URLs. Relative URLs should only include the "relative" path (i.e., everything that comes after the domain, including the directory and slug). In contrast, absolute URLs include the entire route to the resources page, as distinguished by the HTTP:// schema. In other words, including the whole website URL without the HTTP:// will result in an indexing issue, and rel=canonical (canonical tag) may even be ignored. Use a relative or absolute URL, but do it correctly.


A canonical URL is a vital tool to help boost the content, quality, and ranking of your page or website, especially when dealing with duplicate pages. The canonical URL helps by boosting the SEO as duplicate content can cause a negative impact, improve the reliability of data collected from Google Analytics and increase traffic flow. The proper understanding and use of canonical URLs can help with the accessible location or navigation of your website or a page in your website. Ultimately, canonical URL allows you to indicate to Google the specific URL/page you want to be indexed, preventing duplicate content issues.

Nevertheless, if you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.