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Canonicalizing Your Site: Understanding the Why and How

Web site organization impacts how easily search engine spiders and users can navigate your site and find the content that addresses their needs. Poorly organized sites make it difficult for folks to find related content, it will even bring about research engine spiders missing certain pages altogether.

Canonicalization helps customers find what they needAs you construct your site, various strategies and best practices can be employed to emphasise your concern content and boost your rankings on the Search results. The art of putting an emphasis on certain content as main and telling Google not to concentrate on or position others is often known to as canonicalization. Right here are some helpful strategies you can employ to improve your site architecture and maximize your use of canonical tags.
Why should you canonicalize your site?

Canonicalizing your site makes it easy for Google to understand the pages on your site that should receive priority attention and exposure and which pages should receive less focus, or even ignored. The key is understanding when to utilize these strategies and the benefits and drawbacks of your various options.
Preventing Duplicate Content

For several years now people have discussed Google’s so-called ‘duplicate content penalty. ’ Generally speaking, Google does not like to see duplicate content–largely because users to not like to see it. They do not want to perform a search and see 4 different results that contain exactly the same content. It detracts from the user experience.

Canonicalization helps site owners avoid any potential penalty from the creation of duplicate content. By directing Google to ignore particular content and only pay attention to other pages, Google can properly index your site and avoid creating a poor user experience.

Remember that Google sees all versions of a URL as different pages. For example, if you have two different addresses with the same content, such as https://www.example.com/ and https://www.example.com/index. php, Google could regard these as different pages and dilute the backlink equity among the two, even though as a human user you would not recognize the difference. You might also have unique URLs generated if your users can sort your page by price, for example. Many sites might also generate printable versions of their websites as well, which further adds to the list of potential duplicates. As you work to eliminate these duplicates, you want to uncover all of these potential copies, even ones that you did not intentionally create.
Make It Easier for Search Engines to Prioritize Pages

As you create your content, you may also find yourself producing more than one page of content focused around a certain theme or topic. For the other pages that feature the same keyword, you will want to look closely at the page–can you modify the keyword you use on the second page to better differentiate the pages? If not, many brands find it useful to select one central page that has been optimized for a particular keyword and make that the canonical page for the keyword. Your canonical SEO strategy should ensure that each page optimizes for a unique keyword.
How do I canonicalize my site?

There are several different strategies for canonicalizing a site. Here are the main tags and codes you can use to organize your site architecture and prioritize particular pages.
Standard practice

rel=canonical

Using the rel=canonical tag is the most typical way to indicate the prioritization of a particular page to Google. The particular tag should are now living in the HTML header of the website and lets the search engines know that this is the only version of the web page that they need to pay attention to.

Even though this might be the most popular, and often the easiest, solution, it is far from the only one. Manufacturers sometimes find some of the other options to canonicalize their site more useful, depending on the situation.

It is important, however, that brands seriously consider how they implement this single collection of code. Horror tales do abound of sites who accidentally put the code in the incorrect place and canonicalized their entire site to one page or similar catastrophes from using the canonical tag incorrectly. Focus on sitewide headers, making sure that you set the tag in the header that only impacts the required page.

Within certain situations, you will need to set your rel=canonical tags with rel=alternate tags. These labels let Google know where the alternate version of the site lives. With regard to example, this combination will be particularly useful if you use mobile-designated versions of your website instead of responsive design. This helps Google better understand how the pages relate to each other and creates a smoother experience.
Google’s instructions for canonicalization
Google’s instructions for using the rel=canonical tag
Related techniques

Redirects

Redirects, specifically 301 redirects, can be a valuable tool when you want to have multiple URLs go to the same page AND you no longer what the old page to be accessible. For example , if you migrated from HTTP to HTTPS and you want to make sure that folks who still type in your old address get to the right site, you will use a 301 reroute to send those to the same page on the HTTPS site.
Canonicalization with redirects
At BrightEdge, we will automatically redirect the alternate homepage address of www.brightedge.com/index.php to www.brightedge.com

NoIndex

The NoIndex tag has its own useful purposes. For example, you can use it to help cover content still in development or prevent Google from indexing Thank You web pages.

Sites could find the NoIndex robots. txt to help encourage engines like google to ignore URLs developed by product sorting, for example. Typically the only issue to consider here is that you will not bring your website link equity from the webpage you ‘noindex’ to the key page, so consider carefully where you stick it.

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