In addition, to duplicate ContentContent, we’ll answer all your concerns about canonical URLs and how Google might choose to choose your canonical pages.

The term “canonical tag” often comes into discussions about SEO and, more than, in collaboration with partners from different functions such as analytics, engineering, etc.

At first, it could appear somewhat intimidating, particularly when you’re new to SEO.

The good news is the following guide will help. We’ll walk you through all the finer points of what a canonical label is, the reasons why they’re important, how they appear out in nature, the places they’re located, and some specifics.

What Is A Canonical?

Before we can even define a canonical tag, if there’s something that you get from this article, Let it be that Canonical tags are not directives as in the Robots.txt file.

This implies that Google takes canonical tags as an unmistakable signal, but in the final analysis, Google weighs various signals before deciding whether to honor them.

Now that we’ve explained the golden rule Let’s look at what it is!

The canonical tag was introduced in 2009 and was an HTML tag within the code source used to inform search engines what URL is the official version of the page. This tag can be used to notify Google which variation of a page it is required to index for users.

A canonical tag is an HTML tag on a webpage. However, it’s not the “canonical” – now, it is slightly different.

There are two ways of defining the canonical differences: a canonical declared by a user and an official Google-declared canonical.

  • User-declared Canonical: It’s precisely what it states: the canonical listed by the tag.
  • Google-declared Canonical The URL is what Google decides to use as canonical.
  • If you can access Google Search Console, you can use this tool to check both canonical kinds.
  • In a perfect state, the two match, but what happens if they don’t? We’ll talk about this later.

    Screenshot from Google Search Console Inspect URL, October 2022

How Google Chooses A Canonical URL

If Google searches and indexes websites, it evaluates the page’s primary ContentContent. (Pro tip: Don’t mistake the term “content” with “written content”).

In this search, it is likely to find similar pages. Google will choose the one it believes is the most authentic depiction of what the page’s trying to convey to its users and then select it as the official one.

As we have discussed previously, the canonical tag is not a directive; therefore, in addition to the canonical tag, Google considers other signals and ensures that you are congruous!

External links and internal links are just two of the other factors Google takes into consideration when it comes to canonical tags.

Caution: If you internally link your pages with query parameters like /?some_parameter=xyz, there is a high chance that Google will ignore your canonical meta tag and choose a URL with a query parameter as canonical.

Google crawls RSS very quickly. Therefore, make sure your canonical declaration matches URLs on the RSS feed.

If you include URLs into your RSS feed that include parameters like”/?source=feed” to track the traffic coming to your site coming from RSS users, there is the possibility that Google will select an official canonical using the query string, e.g.,/?source=feed even though it’s an ad-hoc parameter for tracking – and Google is aware of that.

You can use link-shortening solutions to shorten your URLs within the RSS feed so that you can track clicks or utilize RSS services such as FeedPress.

Google will also make decisions to improve the user experience.

If you’ve got the desktop version of your website, Google may serve the mobile version to anyone using a mobile.

How Canonical Tags Can Be Helpful For SEO

Canonical tags are crucial for websites with a few pages and millions of web pages.

They are required for many reasons.

1. You Choose The Canonical Tag

The canonical tag allows you to recommend to Google the most effective version of a page on your site that you wish to make available to your users.

2. Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content is just one area that appears easy on the surface. However, it is much more complicated than the name suggests and often has negative connotations.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “I don’t have any duplicate pages,” however, before making this declaration, we should take a brief look at what could be described in the term “duplicate” via Google Search Central Documentation.

Duplicate pages contain the same Content, with the same Content in the language. For instance, suppose you’re using multiple pages to accommodate mobile-friendly pages (an m. amp, amp, etc.) and dynamic URLs to help things such as session parameters or IDs.

In that scenario, your blog’s path is created across multiple folders. You have HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website Your site also has duplicate Content. It’s nothing to worry about, and it is relatively commonplace, which is why it has a canonical significance!

3. Google Uses Canonicals As Its Main Source

Google uses the canonical method to assess the quality of a website’s Content and its Content.

The canonical pages are more frequently accessed than non-canonical pages.

4. May Help With Crawl Budget

You’ve probably heard of the term “crawl budget” tossed around often when you own a vast website.

If they are done correctly, canonicals can reduce the load on your crawl budget, as Google will crawl canonical versions of your pages more often than the non-canonical version.

This is not a substitute for no-index tags, redirects, or robots directives.

5. Consolidate Link Signals

Canonicals allow search engines to utilize the information they can find on similar websites and combine them into one URL, thereby increasing the effectiveness.

6. Content Syndication

If you’ve got a website that syndicates its Content to the public or is used by partners, it is essential to ensure it’s the version displayed in the search results.

How To Implement A Canonical Tag

After we’ve reviewed the how and what of canonical tags, let’s talk about the best way to incorporate a canonical tag into your website.

Pages may (and should) be self-referencing when they’re the most appropriate versions of the site to integrate things such as metrics tracking and HTTPS versions, mobile experiences, etc.

Unless you can edit the HTML directly, you will likely need to work with your development/engineering partners.


We hope that this article will help you learn the what, how, and how of the use of canonical tags. Make sure you review your canonical tags to see how you can improve them and get your desired information noticed by search engines.

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