What Is A Canonical Tag?

One of the beauties of using a content management system (such as iAPPS) is your ability to reuse content (especially text) throughout your website. While this saves time for the content administrator, many organizations fail to take full advantage of it out of fear of being docked by search engines for duplicate or redundant content. Instead, they opt to redirect users from one end of their site to another all to avoid being penalized. From a user experience perspective, this can be a mistake – and an avoidable one at that.

Imagine that your website has a product that could be listed in multiple places – not uncommon, right? If you list the exact same page content in multiple places however, search engines will views this as canonicalization. Canonicalization occurs as the result of two or more pages having identical content.

What problem does duplicate content, or canonicalization present? Mainly, search engines don't know which version to rank for search results, which can result in lower rankings and traffic. This is where rel=canonical tags come in handy.

A rel=canonical tag tells Bing and Google that the given page should be treated as though it were a copy of the original URL and that all of the links and metrics the engines apply should actually be given to the provided URL.

So how does one add a canonical tag? In iAPPS it’s easy –simply navigate to the page with duplicate content, and under Page Properties, add a tag formatted in the fashion shown below, with the URL of the original page under the meta data.

Canonical Example

While some web administrators address the issue of canonicalization by redirecting website users from one page to another, this isn’t always necessary. Why structure your content in a way that’s not user-friendly (by constantly redirecting your website users) if you can avoid it? With iAPPS and rel=canonical tags you can have the best of both worlds.

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1 Response to "What Is A Canonical Tag?"

    • Karen Gregg
    • September 24, 2013

    Great tip on avoiding problems with canonical page content! Thank you.

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