Rel canonical is a set of guidelines that help maintain the integrity of your website’s navigation. It originated on the Yahoo! Developer Network and was later included in the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This new article explains what it is, how to implement it, and how to troubleshoot if you encounter any issues with it.
A lot has changed since then. Nowadays, most websites offer alternate styles for their navigation instead of a single style. But when doing so, make sure you don’t change anything else too drastically or else you could end up breaking your website’s alignment with its navigation. Here are some things to keep in mind when making changes to your website’s layout or design.
How do you know if you need a rel canonical?
A rel canonical is a tool that you can use to tell search engines what page of yours is the original one. It’s often necessary to use a canonical if you have duplicate content on your site.
For example, if you have two completely separate pages about different topics, but they both share the same URL, Google might think the duplicate content is spam. Your page could be penalized or dropped entirely from search results for this reason.
If you want people to find the page with the most relevant information, use a rel canonical to indicate which page should rank in search results.
You’ll need to include a link to the canonical page within each instance of that page on your website. You can also use automated tools like Yoast SEO and Schema Creator Pro to implement this for you on your website automatically.
What are some of the best practices for using rel canonical?
If you’re updating old content, it can be necessary to use a rel canonical. The purpose of the rel canonical is to tell search engines that the original page no longer exists and that they should instead link to the new version. It’s important to use this tag when you update a page to avoid having duplicate content indexed in search engine results.
Should you use a rel canonical if you have no backlinks?
If you’ve never heard of a rel canonical, it’s actually pretty easy to figure out. A rel canonical is a piece of code that you can use to indicate the original URL that should be linked to on your website.
You’ll want to have this code on your blog post or webpage if you’re trying to show the original content. Depending on how you set up your site, some URLs may not be clickable without this code.
For instance, let’s say you have an article about “How To Pick the Perfect Dog.” You have two URLs for this article: https://www.example.com/pets/dogs-101/ and https://www.example.com/dogs/.
The first URL is pointing to the article about dogs that’s listed as pets 101 on your website. The second URL points to the same article but with “dogs” changed to “pets.”
If someone types in either of these URLs into their browser, they’ll end up seeing the same content on both pages because they’re both pointing back at the original page.
What are some of the top mistakes people make with their canonical tags?
There are a few mistakes that happen quite often with canonical tags. One common mistake is not having a page to link to the original page, which is why a rel canonical tag was added in the first place. Another common mistake is to use a canonicals tag with an absolute url, which would then cause your site to return 404 errors for other pages on your site.
A third mistake people make is adding multiple tags, each linking to the same content. For example, you might have two tags pointing to one article’s main url, but both tags could link back to just one of your pages. That means that any changes made to the url on the other page will need to be duplicated in both tags or else it’ll lead to duplicate content issues.
It’s also important to note that every time you create a new canonical rule, you should change it on all other sites where you have content linked up (unless you want those urls redirected).
Last Updated on January 2, 2022
Aires Loutsaris is a content marketing specialist working with some of the world’s biggest VC funded startups and eCommerce companies. He has 15 years of experience in organic search optimisation and content writing with over 2500 students enrolled in his Udemy SEO course. An ex-head of two award-winning agencies, he has lectured at the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion on content marketing and has consulted for all three of the Universities he studied at: The Open University, The University of Hull and Kings College University of London. Feel free to connect with Aires on LinkedIn or Facebook.