Posts Tagged ‘canonical tags’

Canonical Tags – What are they and should you use them?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

By Sharon Hill with Guest Shannon Evans

Over a year ago, Google, Yahoo & Microsoft Unite On “Canonical Tag” To Reduce Duplicate Content Clutter.

In revisiting this issue, we asked Shannon Evans,  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert if this is still in play and about the significance.

Shannon Evans author of “Get Found Now – SEO Secrets Exposed – How to Optimize Your Website to Rank High on Search Engines” and owner of Practical Local Search sums it up as:

“What is Google’s “canonical tag”? In a nutshell – a 301 redirect for duplicate content pages. This is especially useful to know if you have one of those pesky problems like home pages accessed through multiple URL’s. If you have websites out on the world wide web linking to your content then you can end up with a diluted rank value and perhaps a revised page rank for that content. Canonical tags were created so the website owner can declare the “authoritative” copy of the page. Clear as mud?

Let’s assume your homepage is located at:

homepage.com, www.homepage.com, www.homepage.com/index, www.homepage.com/index.html, homepage.com/home.asp, etc ad nauseum.

In the old days, you had to write a ton of code creating a 301 redirect for each of these addresses so search engines would go to the version of the page you want indexed. If you did not go to the effort, you would end up with confused search engines that might assume you had duplicate content floating around. Those smart folks over at Google then came up with canonical tags so you as the site owner had more control over the preferred URL.

How do you indicate a Canonical Page?

To create a canonical link to the page www.homepage.com/index create a <link> element: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.homepage.com/index“/>

So there you have it…I do…but mostly for websites with lots of pages…or blogs as they blossom and grow. When you have 20K pages in text you should have them!”   – Shannon Evans


If you have one website for your business, you still have multiple ways for your visitors to type in your website address.  As Shannon Evans stated you have:

http://www.homepage.com

http://homepage.com

http://www.homepage.com/index.htm and/or index.html

http://homepage.com/index.htm and/or index.html

All websites have home page.  This home page is saved as a file.  This file is saved as index.htm, or index.html or home.asp or even default.htm or default.html.  This is no different than saving files as .doc for Microsoft Word.  The difference on the internet is you can have multiple files that are trying to take the visitor to the same place.

Type in your website address (i.e. www.homepage.com) go to another page on your website and then go back to home.  You most likely now see www.homepage.com/index.htm (or html)

Trying typing in the different variations that we have shown for your own website.  Some designers have created multiple files of the same page so that if a visitor directly types in the address they will not find a Page Not Found.  For example:  www.homepage.com/products.htm could also be saved as www.homepage.com/products.html

By adding the canonical tag these two pages are treated the same and the popularity of the page is not diluted by the search engines.

While it seems relatively easy to add the canonical code, as Shannon Evans states: “So there you have it…I do…but mostly for websites with lots of pages…or blogs as they blossom and grow. When you have 20K pages in text you should have them! “

You can read about this subject at http://searchengineland.com/canonical-tag-16537

Special thanks to:

Shannon Evans -
Author: Get Found Now – SEO Secrets Exposed – How to Optimize Your Website to Rank High on Search Engines
Practical Local Search
Small Business Marketing Tool Kits
Strengthen Your Business with a Great Local Web Presence.
http://practicallocalsearch.com/
206-780-2257
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/shannonevans

@social_dynamics