Canonical tags are metadata used to indicate which web page from a list of pages is the original or canonical page. This original page contains all the essential information without duplication. When a search engine robot crawls your website, it can efficiently index your site without the need to traverse every link on each page.
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What are Canonical Tags?
A canonical tag tells the browser that this particular page should be indexed as a single document. It is “canon”. It also means that any reference to this particular page will use the URL of this one (rather than one of the others). This makes your pages easier to find.
The HTML page that contains an article with short code </nowiki> is the same as all the other pages on your site. However, in order to make it easy for search engines and humans to index your site, you need a way to mark it as being “canonical”.
Are Canonical tags important?
Canonical tags also help search engines to understand that the content is repeated on other pages and that they should use this as the main page for indexing purposes instead of one of the others.
Canonical tags are implemented with code. The basic canonical tag code looks like this:
The “rel=canonical” element tells search engines that this page contains all the same information as another page, but in a different format (such as a different language or script). This way, search engines can index your sites without having to read through your site for each language you have.
How To Use Canonical Tag?
The canonical tag is installed using a server-side script. So in order to use it, your server must be configured to support it. Then, when a page with your canonical tag is requested by a web browser, the request will be forwarded to the server for processing and the page will be returned without any of its links being processed.
There are currently two different ways search engines can process this. The simplest way is by “canonical matching” which matches one URL with all other URLs on your site using regular expressions and then simply returns that single URL as the result.
What You Get When Canonical Tags Are In Use?
The most obvious advantage of using a canonical tag is, that you can manage all the duplicate content from one single location. As the results are often cached it will improve your site’s search engine performance. Instead of appearing as a duplicate page, it will be grouped in with all the other pages on your site using the canonical tag allowing you to quickly identify if there are any problems and fix them.
But if they already have all the information they need to index your page from the other duplicate pages on your site, why should they visit this one? The truth is that without a canonical tag, search engines may still choose to ignore your page because it’s not as good as another version of it. For example, if you have an article with a duplicate in French and another in German, but an English version is better than either of them individually (say, for example, because it has more backlinks or has been edited more recently), then using a canonical tag would tell the search engines that this is the preferred version of the article. For comprehensive insights into how search engines interact with your pages and which versions they prioritize, you can rely on Google Analytics Services to track and analyze user interactions and search engine behavior on your website.
How to implement canonical
There are several ways in which you can implement canonical tags. but the easiest way is to install a plugin on your WordPress site:
“Simple Canonical Link”
This plugin adds a link on each post, page or even custom post type archives to link to a canonical version of your website. So when you write an article and tag it with a shortcode, then the link “canonical-link” will be installed below it so that users can easily modify the canonical URL of their site. The plugin also supports HTTPS and local domains.
“WordPress Canonicals Plugin”
The WordPress Canonicals Plugin provides a way to link to the canonical version of your site from within your WordPress Dashboard. You can choose from pre-built permalinks and easily create custom ones.
“Destination URL Generator”
This is a plugin that allows you to create multiple destination URLs for your site in a few seconds. This solution requires adding each destination URL manually, so it’s not suitable for large websites where individual blog posts are published frequently in different directories. However, if you want to add canonical tags to more than one post/page on your site at once, this is the plugin for you.
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Canonical tags should be used not just by bloggers on a WordPress site, but also by website owners everywhere. It is a very useful tool to prevent duplicate content issues and keep your site clean. If you have any other tips or recommendations on implementing canonical tags.
Canonical tags are metadata used to indicate which web page on a list of pages is the original or canonical page. This page will have all the information contained in the other pages, but not duplicated.