How to Avoid Duplicate Content with Canonical Tags

One of the most effective tags webmasters use to fight duplicate content on their sites is the good old relative canonical tag or more popularly written as rel=’canonical’. Read on to know more…

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The relative canonical tag written as rel=”canonical” in code is one of the most effective tags site owners use to fight duplicate content on their websites. According to experts, this tag is used with link tags in website development. It has the same capacity as the 301 redirect in the website HT access. This article looks at duplicate content on a website, in addition to the different techniques that can be used to deal with it.

The duplicate content problem

When you develop a website, one of the biggest problems it will face is duplicate content. To Google, duplicate content is the one that doesn’t pass its bill or right as unique. You can find such pages with a duplicate content checker PlagSpotter. Simply, this is content which the same as content on another page on the web.

Sometimes, duplicate content exists when particular content is accessible from different URLs. The search engines access these pages with the same path and they see this as duplicate content. Moreover, although you may not be punished for this, only one out of the pieces/URLs will be shown in the Google search results.

To add on this, when you have different versions of the website with the same content, they compete against themselves for page rank. In the end, this may erode the entire links authority in the search engine results. To the content owner with similar pages competing with each other, winding up with a low search engine result is definitely out of the question.

The relative canonical tag helps you direct the search engine results about the pages they should put more focus. In the worst-case scenario, duplicate content on a website affects your search engine optimization effort, negatively.

rel=”canonical”

This is one of the most respected tags in the SEO sphere. It tells the search engine crawlers on Bing and Google that regardless of the page URL, the one specified within it is the one you want them to look at. However, you shouldn’t abuse this tag. According to Google engineers, any use of the tag for purposes other than getting rid of duplicates is bad and against its guidelines.
If you have understood the role this tag plays, where do you implement it? The following are duplicate content locations and issues you can fix with this tag.

Creating tracking codes

When you create a website tracking code or URL, this can be one of the leading causes for duplicate content. Even though most search engines, especially Google have technology that is able to determine these elements, they do it at discretion. Sometimes, they may pass you on. This may lead to the duplicates and the associated poor performance. The canonical tag will ensure that the pages you have on the website have connectivity and this will improve your website’s performance.

Poorly crafted URL


The URL is the doorway to your site’s content. Poor orientation caused in coding can result in many URLs pointing to the same content causing duplicate. In the idea scenario, the search engines want you to have a particular URL for specific content. The rel=”canonical” can also help you escape duplicates.

Pagination

Websites also grapple with duplicate content caused by pagination. These pages have content, which is almost the same. If you have this kind of pages on your website, you can strengthen the stronger one by pointing the other page to it with a rel=”canonical”.

WWW and non-WWW versions of sites

Many websites can be accessed on both www and non-www extensions. This causes duplicate content. For the benefits that come with linking a single version, you should use a relative canonical to redirect to your preference.

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