The Canonical Tag ( rel=canonical element) often called the “canonical link”. It is an HTML element that helps Search Engines prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical URL”, the “preferred” version of a web page. Actually we give Canonical tag just for search engines not for users. It also help. in Search engine Optimization of Web pages.
In canonical link we give URL of preferred Web Page or Master page .This tag is present in HTML header portion where meta Title and meta Description tags are present. For Canonical Tag following Syntax is Used:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domain.com/your-preferred-url/” />
It tells search engine/Webmasters that one URL is equivalent to another URL (preferred Page URL) where search results are related to this page. The main use of this tag is to avoid issues related to duplicate content on your website which generally occurs due to similar URL parameters or the existence of similar content. The canonical tag was introduced to handle duplicate content for web masters who have similar or identical content within their blog.There are many legitimate reasons for duplicate content, specially system generated URLs. These include:
A URL is chosen from a set of near-duplicate and duplicate pages and used as the canonical URL. Usually, the page that is considered most important based on the most links or visitors is chosen as the preferred URL. When all such factors are the same, any of the links can be randomly chosen as the canonical URL.
A canonical URL is the source of a webpage, with the URL that search engines like Google choose as the preferred one from a set of duplicate pages. Specifying the canonical version of a webpage prevents duplicate content issues in search engine optimization. It uses the canonical tag (link rel=“canonical”) to specify that it is the preferred URL.
When there are duplicate or near-duplicate versions of the same webpage, it becomes difficult for search engines to decide which one to show in results.
For example, these could be their URLs:
This often happens, making rel=canonical useful in such cases. Once you choose which of these two you want to make as the preferred webpage, you can add the canonical tag in the following way to make it into a canonical URL.
<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/dress/blue-long/" />
This then merges the two pages into one from a search engine’s perspective.
In the example above, the link (https://example.com/dress/blue-long/) becomes the canonical URL, making the other link (https://example.com/dress/long/dress/) the non-canonical URL. There are fewer chances that the non-canonical URL appears in search engine ranking.
If one has the following URLs for the same webpage
Google will choose just one out of these as the canonical URL and have the (rel="canonical") tag appear with it as follows:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://exam.com/answer/1234" />
You can set your preferred webpage link as the canonical URL on WordPress using a plugin, but that can be done manually without a plugin by following these steps:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.website.com<?php echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];?>">in the HEAD section of the theme header file by replacing website.com with your domain name.
There are numerous canonical checkers online wherein you can paste the link of your website to test it for the canonical tag. They also check for potential URL canonicalization issues on your website.
A canonical URL is defined as an HTML link element with the colonial tag rel="canonical” found in theelement of a webpage. This informs search engines that this is the preferred URL that they should index when displaying that page’s content.
A custom canonical URL is used when there are several versions of similar or duplicate content on your domain, and you want to ensure that the search engines know which of these pages to index and display in the search engine results.
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