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What is Canonical URL?

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What is Canonical URL? How to Use Canonical Tag?

Canonical URL is a URL format that has been around for a long time, but its importance is slowly being understood. This URL format gets its name from the rel=”canonical” tag. This tag is used especially to solve duplicate content problems in different domains that may occur after merging.

What is Canonical URL?

You may have seen very different opinions about Canonical URLs. When URL structures are discussed, something is always said about them. A lot of use has been made in the SEO field to develop the Canonical URL idea. The definition of canonical URL from an SEO perspective is as follows:

“The search engine friendly URL you want search engines to see as authoritative. In other words, a canonical URL is the URL you want visitors to see.”

Canonical URLs are very often used to identify the home page. This way is used to prove that each of the URLs in the following example is the same page:

  • www.example.com
  • example.com
  • www.example.com/index.html
  • example.com/home.asp
  • http://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.com

In reality, these are all different URLs. If we look at it from the perspective of the search engine, this brings with it many problems. Therefore, the idea of ​​canonicalization emerged. Canonicalization is always the process of choosing the best URL where there is more than one option. Sometimes mistakes can be made in such choices. You can think of it as the experience of a user searching for a particular product but logging out to a different page each time. As a result of such an experience, site owners are faced with the problem of duplicate content. In addition, internal and external link problems may occur.

The easiest way to avoid this is to convey to search engines and users what the preferred page is with the help of canonical URLs. Another suggestion is to redirect all variations of a page to the canonical URL. Since all major search engines support the canonical tag, you can generate a solution using this tag.

Duplicate content and canonical tags have often been discussed together. Commonly asked questions include canonicalizing www and non-www URLs. In addition to these, there are different pages that need to be canonicalized.

There is no clear answer to such a question. Because search engines can perform various types of canonicalization at many points, including the “/” sign at the end of URLs. These canonicalization operations also include values ​​such as case differences and session IDs.

A site can have 15-20 identical pages with different URLs that are similar to each other. The solution to be produced here specifies a single URL, which means the last stop. The easiest way to do this is to use this tag or redirect all pages to the most authoritative page. The label is very easy to use. All you have to do is use the canonical tag containing the correct URL in the <head> code of the URLs with duplicate content.

The meaning of the term canonical means pertaining or relevant. This term also means simplification. You should remember that a canonical URL is the simplest and most important version you want to appear.

According to Google, you can use canonical URLs to improve links and improve ranking signals for your content.

Using the canonical tag for URL redirects can be a good option from time to time. In some cases 301 permanent redirects make much more sense. However, if you have the option to use the canonical tag in those circumstances, it can be much easier to implement.

How to Apply the Canonical Label Correctly

A canonical tag is at the top of a page’s HTML codes. The title tag, meta description and robot tags are placed in the same place as the canonical tag. Considering the example.com example above, the tag you should use is as follows:

<link rel=”canonical” href=” http://www.example.com/ “ / >

This canonical tag must be placed on all URLs to be canonicalized for the same page.

Other Ways to Set Preferred URL or Domain Name

If you want to set a canonical URL for your content, there are many different options available to enable you to do so. These options are as follows:

  • Setting preferred domain in Google Search Console
  • Determining the preferred URL using the rel=”canonical” link element
  • Showing preferred URLs for the same content in the sitemap
  • use 301 redirects for non-canonical URLs
  • Determining the method for using dynamic parameters
  • Specifying a canonical link in the HTTP header
  • Preferring HTTPS over HTTP for Canonical links

You need to specify a Canonical URL. Otherwise, Google will try to identify the best URL. Here are Google’s recommendations:

  • You should not use the robots.txt file in the canonicalization process.
  • You should not use a URL removal tool during the canonicalization process because these tools remove all versions of a URL from the search.
  • You shouldn’t make the mistake of specifying different pages as canonical URLs for the same page.
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