Canonical URLs are essential for optimizing a website, especially when detecting duplicate content or keyword cannibalization issues. Basically, a canonical URL is the main version of duplicate content. This is a tag that is added so that Google knows that this is the content it should index and not the other.
Tags for canonical URLs allow Google to differentiate between two duplicate pieces of content.
The tag is necessary because Google can’t decide by itself which of the two contents it should position and it cannot offer repeated results on its results page, which means that when it finds this type of content it does not position either of the two.
These tags are HTML fragments that are introduced in the head section of the duplicate article and that point to the one we want to position as follows: rel=»canonical». An example would be something like this:
Although tagging one of the two pages is enough for Google to know which URL is canonical, it doesn’t hurt to add the canonical tag to the page we want to position pointing to your own urlsince in this way we reinforce the indications.
Is it important to have the canonical tag?
In fact, John Mueller, SEO specialist at Google, has confirmed that, although it is not essential, it is important to have the canonical tag on the page we want to position, since it makes the job of choosing which of the two pages is easier. The correct one.
As we have already explained, canonical URLs are very valuable tools to solve problems of content duplication or SEO cannibalization, since they allows to differentiate and tell Google where the content we want to position is located.
These tags also help Google correctly understand the structure of our website and distribute linking authority, which optimizes the search engine positioning of our content, which translates into more clicks, more interaction and more conversions.