Canonical Tag is very important for Google and Search Engines. We can let Search Engine know which URL we want to get indexed. It is useful to prevent duplicate content issues in the case of a different version of the same page.
The Canonical URL is the URL which you want to appear in the Search Result. It is a primary version of your content. It is properly created by using some set of rules such as your canonical URL should include any URL parameter or end with trailing slash etc.
A Canonicalised URL is a page which has a canonical tag with a different URL. It means you want to tell Google to index the URL which is in the Canonical tag instead of the page URL.
Add the Canonical Tag:
If you want to add the Canonical Tag to your web pages then you need to add this code:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”web page URL” />
You need to add this code in the <head> section of the website. There are many CMS which has plug-ins, by which the code for the Canonical tag will automatically get added. But you need to check the code for the web page URL if you want to add different URL.
Rules for Adding the Canonical Tags:
If you want your Canonical Tag to work properly then you have to use them correctly and consistently:
- Use Complete URL with the Full Domain
- Don’t mix the URLs, use the slash at the end of every URL or don’t use it in any URL
- Don’t mix the cases, use upper case character or don’t use them
Difference Between Canonical Tag and 301 Redirection:
The Canonical Tag is only for the Search Engines so that user can visit the URL without having any issue, whereas 301 will redirect one URL to other for users and Search Engines as well. If you redirect any URL, the redirected URL will not be stored in Google Analytics or Google Search Result. You will see the source URL of the redirected page in the Search Result of any search engines. The Canonicalised URL get tracked and will be stored in Google Analytics. You have to use Canonical tags if you want a URL to be accessible for the users otherwise you can use 301 Redirection for it.
Mistakes in Canonical Tags:
Search Engines will ignore the Canonical Tag in some conditions. Some follow:
- Canonical URL and Canonicalised URL must be same. If Google found them different then it will ignore them.
- All the web pages need to have Canonical Tag to prevent any type of duplication.
- If you have added two Canonical tags in the webs page having two different canonical tags then Google will ignore both of them.
- If the Canonical tag does not include any URL then it will be ignored by Google.
- Canonical URL should be a valid URL else Google will ignore it. It also can reduce the crawling efficiency.
- Canonical URL should not redirect to any other URL. If it is then it cannot be a true Canonical URL.