What Is Canonicalization & The Canonical Tag?

The term “canonicalization” in SEO refers to the practice of designating a single URL that will contain all of your site’s content. Even though you may think of “.com” and “.com/html” as examples of the same URL, the crawlers will register these URLS as unalike.  This disparity will negatively impact your overall rankings and therefore your Miami business as a whole.

Many websites make this mistake with their blog posts or product pages. A single product could use changing URLs due to a user’s session or search preference. For instance, some blue shoes might be found through a URL containing “/shoes/blue/blueshoes.html” or even one containing “category=shoes&color=blue”. The same can easily apply to a blog post. A URL discovered through searching will vary from a URL allocated by the platform when the blog post is made available.

Though your site’s users may reach the same page through both URLs, search engine crawlers see these URLs as entirely different pages. This separation leads to a loss of overall link authority. Furthermore, Google might even accuse you of posting duplicate pages. On the other hand, a high-ranking SEO site could also have issues with canonicalization. It can clearly be quite difficult to merge all of the relevant pages on your Miami site into one URL!

A few workarounds exist though; the most pervasive solutions include 301 redirects and the rel=“canonical” attribute. Each of these methods co-exists since both specialize in different situations.

Choosing the Right Canonical URL

You must begin by choosing which URL to use as your canonical URL. You should typically opt for the easiest address to remember; for example, “www.miamiwebsite.com” will be harder to forget and much easier to type than “http://www.miamiwebsite.com/html”.

The 301 Redirect Method

Using the 301 HTTP redirect code is the most conventional method for managing a page redirection. Most will use it when a page becomes unavailable through its former address. It informs search engines as well as users that your original page no longer exists. Users will then be conveniently redirected to the canonized URL.

Though this solution sounds simple, problems can still arise. There is a chance that you can’t utilize HTTP status codes. Sometimes even when you can, this method can still be far from optimal. You might be waiting a long time for search engines to properly view the new page (i.e. with the same search authority of your original page). Without the right amount of experience in 301 redirects, you could find the process unwieldy and even counterproductive at times.

Only use 301 Redirects for these Situations:

– Redirecting your expired or 404 webpages

– For those pages that you plan to move or replace

– For any domains that will be rebranded or obtained elsewhere

– As your default URL

The rel=“Canonical” Attribute Method

This technique tells Google’s search crawlers that you realize there are duplicate pages, but you are emphasizing one particular page as canonical. This could be useful if you’re using multiple pages to display a single product in a variety of colors, prices, and sizes. This method evidently differs from the 301 redirect, which physically redirects the visitor to the canonical page.

This technique is implemented by marking the link element on the canonical page. Just set the rel=“canonical” attribute with a <link> element in the <head> segment. Using absolute paths can help you avoid errors. Remember to place canonical URLs in your sitemap.

For certain situations this attribute will not be as useful; you might have a long article broken up into numerous parts that all use different URLs. In this case, you want search engines to notice all of these distinct parts instead of only noticing the single page that you set as canonical.

Using rel=“canonical” is also problematic because it’s not compatible with all search engines.

When looking to enhance your Miami site’s rankings with canonicalization, you need to do it properly and ensure that you approach each webpage with the suitable method.