What exactly is a canonical tag and why does Google make use of it?


A canonical tag is a piece of code within your URL to help Google determine which is the main page from all the other pages that are duplicates or very similar. From an SEO point of view, canonical tags are placed on pages you want Google to display in the search results.

The Importance Of Canonical Tags In SEO.


The main purpose of a canonical tag is to tell Google or other search engines which is the main page, or in other words, the original version of duplicate or similar pages.

As we all know, websites usually have two or more pages that cover the same topic. Search engines consider these as duplicates, even though they have different URLs. In this case, search engines have to decide which page to index.

canonical tag example

Why Is Duplicate Content Bad For SEO?

  Although Google does not penalize us for duplicate content, it does, however, filter the content which leads to the same results as a penalty, for example, Loss of rankings for some of your website pages, which leads to poor rankings. In other words, duplicate content across your website confuses search engines on which page to rank for the top results. Therefore, regardless of the content or page, the main page might not be chosen, and Google or other search engines will automatically choose which page to mark as canonical. Check out the image below, you wouldn’t want that to happen to a page on your website that contains relevant keywords to make you rank on the first page of Google.
google canonical example

How To Avoid The ‘Canonical Issue’


Of cause, you would want all your pages on your website with relevant content that’s going to help you climb to the first page of Google to be displayed, and not hidden by Google.

To avoid duplication of relevant content, it’s recommended that you mark all your pages as canonical, or get professional assistance from a well-known SEO Agency such as Deep Thought Media In Cape Town to help you with your SEO needs for your website.

If your website is older than 5 years old and your keywords are still not ranking on the first page of Google, you might have a ‘canonical issue’ with your website.