Are Canonical Tags Important To SEO?

SEO experts who manage e-commerce websites often face duplicate content issues. Remember, it doesn’t happen because you’ve posted duplicate content but because you’ve not used canonical tags. 

Canonical tags tell search engines that pages with slightly different URLs are actually twins, not distinct. This is crucial because, without them, Google might see these pages as separate, causing a “similar content” issue.

What are Canonical Tags? 

Canonical tags or canonical versions of pages are the solutions to the “duplicate content” issue. By using the Canonicals tags, you can show Google that these different-looking web pages are actually the same. As a result, Google only indexes the main page for the search engine. 

Let’s break it down with an example from an e-commerce site like

Suppose you have a product URL:

Now, when a shopper picks the XL size, the URL changes like this:

We know that both URLs lead to the same page, but Google crawler doesn’t understand this. For Google search crawler bot, they’re two different pages, and since both pages have the same content, the description, images, and videos, you’ll face the “similar content” issue. 

Are Canonical Tags Important for SEO?

Yes, canonical tags are important for SEO, especially for e-commerce stores, as they’ve thousands of pages for different products and categories. These thousands of pages become 3x when we don’t use canonical tags properly. 

Without canonical tags, Google might index and rank the wrong version of a page. Plus, these duplicate pages can lead to a lower ranking because Google doesn’t like seeing the same content over and over.

So, using canonical tags is crucial to avoid confusion for search engines and make sure your main pages get the attention they deserve. In a nutshell, for SEO, especially in e-commerce, canonical tags are a must.

3 Benefits of Canonical Tags for SEO 

Here are the top three main benefits of using canonical tags for SEO. These benefits will explain how canonical URLs affect the search results and solve many SEO problems. 

1- Help Google Understand Websites Better

Canonical tags on a page help Google understand the website better. By adding canonical tags, you can show Google which pages are the main ones that need to be indexed and ranked and which pages don’t need to be indexed. 

Without implementing canonical tags, the Google crawl bot might index the same page with multiple URLs and rank all of them. 

2- Prevent Duplicate Content Error 

The best point of the Canonical tag is its ability to prevent duplicate content errors. When the same content exists under different URLs, it can impact the website’s SEO performance and create issues for the approval of Adsense. 

It’s because Google Adsense doesn’t approve websites with a duplicate content error, and that’s definitely not good for your business. 

3- Save Crawl Budget 

Crawl budget means the number of pages Google crawler can crawl at a specific time. If you’ve three to four versions of a single page, the chances are that the search engine might not be able to crawl all pages because most of the time will be spent on duplicate pages. 

However, this issue can be solved easily by updating the page with a Canonical tag. Without these tags, Google might waste time crawling and indexing multiple versions of the same content. 

Where and How Can You Add a Canonical Tag?

As for the question, where should you use the canonical tag? It’s best to use a canonical tag on pages with different URLs. Do not forget that any page can have multiple URLs, like the homepage, the product page of a website store, or a blog post page. 

So, first, you need to figure out how many website pages you need to specify canonical URLs. Then, follow the methods below to use the canonical tags. 

1- WordPress HTML Code

The first way to use the canonical tag is in HTML code. This is the best method if your website homepage has different URLs. 

  • Login to the WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on Appearance, then “Theme file editor.”
  • Select “header.php.”
  • Add this snippet of HTML code below to the <head> section.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

2- Rank Math or Yoast SEO Plugin

The next method is to add canonical URLs to specific pages by using plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math SEO plugins. 

  • Go to the plugin store of WordPress.
  • Download any of these plugins.
  • Activate the plugin by setting up your account.
  • Edit the blog post or the product page of the store.
  • Click on Advanced Settings and enter the right URL that you want Google and other search engines to index and rank.

3 Canonical Tag Best Practices for SEO

Let’s find out the three best canonical tag practices that save your website from technical errors. 

1- Submit Only Canonical Link In the Sitemap

Whenever you create a website’s sitemap, include only the canonical versions of your URLs. It helps search engines understand which pages are the main ones and which are the versions of the same page. This helps crawler bots of search engines like Google to focus on the main page for the indexing process.

2- Use only HTTPS Protocol

For secure and effective SEO, stick to using the HTTPS protocol. It’s the best practice to ensure the page with the canonical tags is associated with a secure connection, giving confidence to search engines and users.

3- Choose the Right Version of the URL www. Or Non-WWW

Be consistent with the structure of the URL in the canonical tags. Decide if you want to use “www” or not; make sure to choose one version and stick to it. Consistency is important to maintain a clear and organized online presence.

Final Words

Understanding and implementing canonical tags is crucial for effective SEO, particularly for e-commerce websites. The canonical tags are used to serve as a solution to the challenge of different URLs leading to the same content. By using canonical tags, you guide search engines on which version of the page should be indexed, preventing confusion and ensuring proper indexing and ranking.

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