Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an aspect of digital marketing that has numerous terms and expressions specific to it. Some of these are self-explanatory, and others are not. One such term, which may not immediately make clear what it is, is ‘canonical tags’; however, it is an SEO term that every website owner should not only be aware of but also know is essential to their SEO and quest to achieve higher search engine rankings.
In this article, we are going to explain what canonical tags are, how they work, their importance within SEO, and, crucially, how you create them within your website for optimal results, including a step-by-step process you can easily follow.
What Are Canonical Tags?
A canonical tag is a small piece of code that can be added to the ‘Head’ section of a website’s HTML code. Its primary function is to inform search engines that crawl the website which version of a page is the preferred or ‘canonical’ version.
The reason for having it is that when a search engine indexes a website, it can find more than one version of the same page, with each one having a unique URL. This can lead to duplicate content issues and confusion for search engines.
For example, if you have two pages on your website with the same content, but different URLs, search engines may not know which one to index. This can lead to your website being flagged as having duplicate content and a subsequent lowering of your search engine rankings.