Canonical URLs: An End-to-End Guidance for Amateurs and Pros

December 6, 2023 | Technical SEO

Sometimes, there are multiple URLs for a particular page existing on your site. This causes many duplicates and crawling issues. 

Due to above-mentioned scenarios, you need to make canonical tagging as a universal URL address for such pages. 

Now, no matter which URL the users type, they will be redirected to that specific address set by you as a canonical tag. This will mitigate the crawling and indexing issues occurring due to the duplication of URLs, leading to better online visibility of your site. 

Thus, in this blog, we shall discuss canonical URLs, their significance, and best practices to implement them. 

Let’s proceed!


What Is a Canonical URL? Why Does it Matter? 

A canonical URL is basically the representative of a group of duplicate URLs, all routing to the same web page. Let’s understand this with the help of an example. 

Suppose there are five different URLs:

Now, all these URLs are routing you to a landing homepage of a particular website. 

However, when you type any of them in the URL address tab of Google, the automated tag that appears is

So, is the canonical URL that would be accessible to any user, regardless of the web address that they are typing over there. This process is manufactured by the web development team, and the canonicalization is done by them within the process. 

Therefore, no complication, no duplicacy! A single URL for a single website. 

Now, why does a canonical URL matter?

Firstly, if the Google spider crawls through many duplicate URLs, it would be tough to find the actual source of your original work. Secondly, constant duplication might hamper the search engine ranking of your website. A consistent growth of duplication may stop the Google bot from crawling and indexing it. Thus, it is essential to implement the canonical URL on a priority basis. 

How Can Canonicalization Significantly Help SEO?

There are an infinite number of ways by which canonicalization can accelerate the SEO of your website. Some of them are vital for the extensive business visibility of your brand. 

Let’s note them down. 

Specify URL Purpose

Canonical URLs make sure that the preferred URL you are selecting appears for a defined purpose. It keeps the search procedure of the users clean, clear, straightforward, and streamlined.

Save Crawl Budget

Save Crawl Budget

The crawl budget increases when Google has to go through multiple URLs repeatedly. Now, when there is a defined preferred URL, there is no scope for repetition, eventually saving time and budget for crawling. 

Magnify Link Juice

The canonical tags make sure that the link juice is passed to the right version of pages. Under the condition that you have multiple URLs with the same content, Google will break down the allocation of link juice to all pages. 

Syndicate Content

If your site tends to syndicate the content for publication, you have to keep canonical tags so that the right page appears in the search results. Thus, canonical URLs are essential for content syndication. 

Consolidate Link Signals

Consolidate Link Signals

It is quite understandable that when multiple pages are converged into a single URL, it increases the value and strengthens the link signals of the website. 

How Will You Implement Canonical URLs?

After knowing the significance of canonical tags, you need to learn the right implantation process. So, here we offer you the same.

The steps to implement them are:

  1. Step 1: Log in to the website 
  2. Step 2: Go to the source code by the command CTRL+U
  3. Step 3: Go to the head section of the source code for Canonical tagging
  4. Step 4: Put the code, <link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

Another most important step is that you have to get rid of IP Canonicalization issues.

When Google spider crawls and indexes a website, it accumulates much of its information, including IP addresses. So, if there are multiple domains under one IP address, the search engine will proactively mark the duplicity of the website.

IP Canonicalization detected by RankWatch’s site checker

RankWatch’s Site Checker instantly helps you identify this IP Canonicalization phenomenon, and you can further take the necessary initiatives to resolve this issue. It also enables you to improve the website performance by going through your website and generating a custom website report on the overall site performance within seconds. 

Canonical Tag: Best SEO Practices

When you plan to add the canonical tags for your website, there are a few pointers that need to be adhered to at any cost. This will smoothen up the implementation process and give you the best results. The best SEO practices for adding canonical tags are:

  1. Add canonical tags in the Head section of the HTML source code. 
  2. Add an HTTP response header
  3. Canonical links must be marked on sitemaps
  4. Use self-referential tags
  5. Put Canonical links for your home page
  6. Refrain from sending mixed signals
  7. Use complete URL to avoid errors
  8. Maintain a single language

Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid for Canonicalization SEO

During the time of implementing canonical tags, there are a few mistakes that one should definitely avoid. 

So, some common mistakes that one has to get rid of are:

  1. Don’t align mobile URL & canonical tag
  2. Kick out irrelevant content 
  3. Avoid multiple canonical version
  4. Mitigate HTTP & HTTPS issues
  5. Avoid noindex URLs

Now, when you are trying to do canonicalization for your website, that too by avoiding the above mistakes, the most important facilitation that one should have in the bucket is a “Site Audit” tool.

Let’s find out why.

A Site auditor will crawl over the complete domain URL and list out all the issues that the canonical tags have to stay away from. 

Don’t worry; RankWatch will help you with this. 

Our “website Auditor” tool offers you insights like HTTP status code distribution, conflicting canonical tags, unlinked paginated pages, failed URLs, Canonicalized Pages, noindex pages, non-200 pages, excluded URLs, non-HTML URLs, nofollowed pages, disallowed pages, page depth, and page response time distribution are disclosed so that you can fix all these issues to keep the SEO canonical intact.

RankWatch’s Site Auditor

RankWatch’s Site Auditor

Canonical SEO: An Integral Aspect for Your Website!

So, here we have made a complete and holistic discussion on Canonical tags followed by canonical SEO, their significance in boosting the visibility of websites, ways to implement them, and the usual mistakes you need to avoid while implementing them. 

Further, you got to know that an SEO tool is integral for the successful implementation of Canonical tags. Here, RankWatch can efficiently help you with everything that you require from an SEO platform. 

Hope this blog is useful to you and has given you enough insights on Canonical tags.

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