The canonical tag, also called rel canonical, is an HTML tag that tells search engines that the attached URL is the original and final version of the page. The canonicalized URL.
The tag goes in the <head> section of the page and looks like this
<link rel=»canonical» href=»https://www.example.com»>
In practical terms, the canonical tag tells Google which page you want to appear in search results.
Why are canonical tags important?
Search engines don’t work like humans. Search engines must be told which are the main pages of our website: which is the home page or which is exactly the contact page.
Although any user would be able to identify both by appearance and design, search engines need to be told.
The advantages of using canonical tags for SEO
By adding canonical tag, we can:
Specify URL of the page should appear in search results
Search engines always provide the best user experience, so they rarely show two or more versions of the same content in search results. Canonical tags gives us the opportunity to improve the search visibility of the page, which can increase organic visits of the page.
The canonical version of web page should be tracked regularly.
An opportunity for our canonical pages to be crawled more efficiently, which can affect the indexing status of our website more positively.
Avoid crawling duplicate pages
By implementing canonical tags, search engines are less likely to continue crawling certain pages knowing they are copies. In this way we will be saving time for search engines within our website.
Why canonical tags should not be abused?
On many occasions we can see canonical tags as an opportunity for Google to prioritize one content over another on our website. This can lead to a bad practice on the part of the web owners and, in the long run, can greatly harm organic traffic.
In the event that search engines identify that canonical tags are being misused, they may choose not to crawl any of our content directly .
It must be taken into account that putting a canonical tag is a recommendation that we send to Google to identify that this specific content is one of the most important on the web. However, the last word will be with Google and you can choose a canonical URL to the one we propose because you think it’s more important.
After all, using canonical URLs is optional in case our website has so much content that it could cause confusion.