Canonical Tags: What is a Canonical Tag?

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Canonical Tags: What is a Canonical Tag?

What is a canonical tag?

A canonical tag is a HTML code snippet that website developers use to tell search engines that a specific page should be considered the authoritative source for a piece of content. In other words, it is a tool that ensures that the original source of content is properly credited, avoiding any possible issues with duplicate content.

The canonical tag works by specifying the preferred URL for a specific page or post, allowing search engines to understand the relationship between pages with similar or identical content. By indicating which page should be considered the primary source of content, webmasters can help avoid duplicate content penalties and ensure that their website ranks higher in search results.

The canonical is placed in the <head> section of the original page as well as on the page with the duplicate content. 

It looks like this:

When implemented correctly, canonical tags can have a significant impact on a website’s search engine rankings. They provide a clear and concise signal to search engines, helping them understand which pages to crawl and index and which ones to ignore.

Why are canonical tags important?

Though duplicate content should be avoided, there are times that it makes sense. For example, content syndication is a marketing strategy that involves distributing and republishing your content on other websites. Essentially, it is a method of promoting your content by allowing other websites to display it in order to reach a wider audience. Here you promote parts of your published content on other pages to help bring more readers back to your original site. In this situation, the canonical tag lets Google know that the second page is a duplicate and that the first page is an original. 

Canonical tags are an essential tool for any website looking to improve its search engine optimization and provide the best possible experience for its users. By utilizing this simple but powerful code snippet, website developers can ensure that their website is seen as the authoritative source for its content and ranks higher in search engine results.

Related: Content: What is considered duplicate content?
Related: Google’s URL Inspection Tool