A canonical link is an HTML link element with the attribute “rel=canonical” that helps search engines understand which version of a webpage should be indexed. It is used to prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “preferred” or “canonical” version of a webpage.
To use a canonical link, you would add the following element to the head section of the HTML code of the duplicate or similar pages:
link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/preferred-page" />
Where “http://example.com/preferred-page” is the URL of the preferred version of the webpage.
It’s important to note that the canonical link is a hint to search engines, rather than a directive, and it’s not a guarantee that the search engines will index the specified page. So it’s important to keep your website well-structured and free of duplicate content to avoid any indexing issues.
How canonical links affects SEO?
The use of canonical links is important for SEO because it helps search engines understand which version of a webpage should be indexed, and which pages should be ignored. Without the use of canonical links, search engines may index multiple versions of the same content, which can result in duplicate content issues.
Duplicate content can dilute the value of a website’s pages and lead to decreased visibility in search engine results. When multiple versions of a webpage are indexed, search engines may not know which version to display in the search results, which can lead to confusion for users and a poor user experience. Additionally, it can also split the link equity among the duplicate pages and dilute their ranking power.
By using canonical links, you can ensure that search engines are aware of the preferred version of a webpage and can direct users and link equity to the intended page. This can help to improve the visibility and search engine rankings of your website’s pages.
Additionally, Canonical links are also helpful in situations where a website’s content is syndicated or republished on other sites, it allows the original publisher to tell search engines which version of the content is the original, and search engine should give credit to the original source.