Canonical meta tag check

A canonical tag, sometimes known as a “rel canonical” tag, is used to inform search engines that a particular URL corresponds to an authoritative version of a page. Using the canonical tag helps you avoid the complications that are brought about when “duplicate” or identical content appears on numerous URLs. 

In a nutshell, the canonical tag communicates to search engines which version of a URL you wish to be displayed in the search results. If your website does not have a canonical meta tag, then it’s possible that Google will be unable to decide which page needs to be shown in the search results.

The rel tag

What causes content duplication

Unfortunately, even the smallest mistakes can have a negative impact on your ranking, and duplicate content is one of them. Aside from human errors and outright plagiarism,  the most common cause of duplicate content is an error in the setup of a website or web page. 

Duplicate content generally falls into one of two categories:

Content causes

  • The information is about a specialized subject; hence the writing overlaps with what has already been published on the website.
  • The author may have cloned a blog post and left in a portion by accident.
  • Multiple authors may have cited the same sources and conducted similar research.

Technical causes

  • Mobile and desktop page versions.
  • Variations of the page that are particular to each language.
  • Comment or page pagination difficulties.
  • URL parameters that are employed in the attribution process.

Why the canonical tag matters

Duplicate content is a complex topic, but when search engines detect URLs with identical (or highly similar) content, it can lead to various SEO issues. 

  • If search crawlers must navigate through an excessive amount of duplicate information, they may overlook some of your original content. 
  • Extensive duplication may diminish your capacity to rank highly. 
  • Even if your content ranks, search engines may choose the incorrect URL as the “original.” 

If it’s determined that duplicate content is the result of something that was done maliciously, there may be serious consequences. Using the canonical tag helps to efficiently manage and prevent all of these duplicate content issues from becoming a problem. 

How to fix duplicate content issues with the help of canonical attribute

If you want the first URL to be the “master” page that Google indexes, you need to include a canonical tag on the second URL referring to the master. This is especially important to do in the cases described above that involve duplicate content with technical causes.

Rel=”canonical” is the optimal solution for handling duplicate content on your website. This instructs search engines that a specific page should be viewed as a copy of a specified URL and that each link, content metrics, and “ranking power” applied to this page should be attributed to the stated URL.

How to fix duplicate content

The rel=”canonical” tag is part of a website page’s HTML head and appears as follows:

<head> …[other code that might be in your document’s HTML head]…<link href=”URL OF ORIGINAL PAGE” rel=”canonical” /> …[other code that could be in your document’s HTML head]…</head>

As long as the canonical tag is in the head, duplicate content shouldn’t be a concern. You can make sure every page that’s created contains the appropriate canonical tag with evisio. The tool is continually looking for SEO fixes that can be holding your pages back in the rankings, including canonical tags that are missing.

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