Does your website have duplicate content? Even if the content on each of your webpages is unique, the answer may surprisingly be “yes”.

How can this be? Search engines like Google consider every unique URL a separate page.

Imagine your website has the following URLs:

  • https://www.example.com/inventory
  • https://www.example.com/inventory?type=new
  • https://www.example.com/inventory?type=new&make=Toyota
  • https://www.example.com/inventory?type=new&make=Toyota&year=2021

These may have near-identical content based on the inventory search parameters, yet search engines will consider them distinct pages. This is where canonical tags come into play.

What is a Canonical Tag?

If you’re looking to avoid duplicate content issues on your website, then maybe you’ve heard of canonical tags. Canonical tags were developed by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo more than a decade ago to help resolve duplicate content on websites.

A canonical tag is a snippet of HTML code (rel=”canonical”) that tells search engines that a specific URL is the main version or master copy of a page.

Suppose you have the same or similar content across your website’s inventory pages. In that case, canonical tags can designate the primary page. This helps search engine crawlers understand which page needs to be indexed and ranked.

Why Do Canonical Tags Matter for SEO?

It’s common knowledge that Google and other search engines do not like duplicate content. After all, duplicate content makes it harder for search engines to provide users with the most helpful links to their search queries.

Google can penalize websites with duplicate content by displaying them lower in the search results pages (SRPs), either intentionally or unintentionally. If Google can’t determine which version of a page to index and rank for certain queries, it will pick one. The danger here is it may or may not be the one you had in mind.

For these reasons, canonical tags are imperative for any websites to distinguish duplicate or similar URLs.

Implementing Canonical Tags

Now that you understand the importance of canonical tags for your website, it’s time to implement them. You can specify canonical URLs through canonicalization signals via an HTML tag (rel=”canonical”), HTTP header, sitemap, internal link or 301 redirect.

If you have a fusionZONE high-performance website, then you’re all set: our team is already utilizing canonical tags on your site to help avoid duplicate content issues!

Feel free to reach out to the fusionZONE team for assistance with canonical tags, website performance or SEO solutions.

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