In February 2009 the world of web marketing and more specifically the world of SEO was flipped upside down by one of the most important news to hit the internet marketing scene in recent years: The Yahoo, Google and Bing search engines would now start the integration of canonical tags in HTML language, the jargon of choice for web programmers.
Canonical tags … Say what?
Maybe you’ve never heard of the term “canonical tags” before reading this article. The fact is that every Internet user who wants to succeed in building a desirable SEO reputation in the giant jungle the Internet has become in recent years must nowadays know (if only fundamentally) the usefulness and functionality of canonical tags and their huge upside when trying to improve your SEO rankings.
It’s you’re lucky day! My Little Big Web has decided to offer you a 101 class on these canonical tags that have, in the space of a few years, become extremely essential in the everyday life of any SEO expert aiming to improve the SEO rankings client’s website and web pages.
How does the Google Indexation process work as far as SEO rankings go?
With the uncountable number of pages readily available on the web, Google is forced to lend itself to the regular analysis of billions of pages in order to determine which ones are most relevant to Internet users using their search services. By improving the SEO rankings of the pages of a particular website, you are making sure they are showing up on the first few pages of Google search queries for a particular search term. Improving SEO rankings is also the key to the success of the American business: every day Google offers aims to improve the relevance of its search results by providing users of its services with the pages that are the most in line with the search terms used by web surfers. This is why improving its SEO rankings has become such an important part of any webmaster or company working towards improving their notoriety on the World Wide Web.
While the exact way in which Google’s indexation process works is still today a fierce guarded secret by the multinational Silicon Valley corporation, company leaders have agreed to shed some light during the last few years on the behaviors that have negative influences on the SEO ranking of a page or a website in the search results. That way, they have opened the door to improving SEO rankings by following certain guidelines who are compatible with a good SEO ranking score.
One of the worst behaviors that affects SEO ranking is content duplication between one or more pages on a specific domain. It is also for this very reason that Google announced in 2009 that its search engine would consider the canonical tags in the SEO ranking of various pages on the World Wide Web.
What are these canonical tags?
A canonical tag is a tag that aims to give Google the preferred version a page if two pages with identical content (or very similar content) exist.
Let’s take, for example, page A and page B. These two pages contain identical content and the programming team behind the creation of the site in question does not want to be accused of publishing duplicate content. They thus define a main page that will serve as a reference page to all pages that contain the same content. If I take page A as the main page, then page B must contain a canonical tag pointing to page A.
Here are some examples of pages where it is strategic to use a canonical tag:
- Multiple URLs: sites with filter options, including e-commerce sites that offer filters by price, by name and by product category can often contain reoccurring content and therefor they can be seen as having the same content on different URLs
- Alternative URLs: Today several sites are accessible via HTTP, HTTPS and WWW prefixes. To avoid being categorized as having duplicate content, canonical tags allow Internet crawlers to know that the different URLs are linked to a single main address.
- Mobile URL versions of a site: Today, more and more Internet users are surfing the web using mobile devices such as smart phones. Canonical tags allow Google to know that the mobile version of a web site should be considered related to the main URL so that the URL will be display in the traditional way.
- Geographical URLs: Several multinational sites (Amazon for example) can be accessed via different suffixes such as .ca, .fr or .uk. The use of canonical tags lets these types of web sites tell web crawlers know that the different versions of the site are all linked to a single URS (normally ending in .com)
- Permalinks: these are URL addresses automatically generated when navigating to a site and when printing, saving or viewing certain pages. Canonical tags specify to web crawlers that these URLs should not be taken into account in the web sites analysis.
Improving your SEO rankings : The canonical tag as a major tool to increase your notoriety online
As you can see, canonical tags are today an important element in the work of web marketing specialists aiming to improve the SEO rankings of client websites on a day-to-day basis.
Most sites can really improve their SEO ranking by integrating canonical tags into some of their pages. To learn how to add canonical tags to your website in order to improving the SEO ranking of pages on your site, do not hesitate to call our team of devoted experts specialized in all the fields of SEO.
After conducting a comprehensive SEO analysis of your site, our experts can tell you on which pages it would be wise to add canonical tags in order to improve their SEO rankings in Google’s eyes. Thereafter, you can entrust the task of reconfiguring your site to our experienced and highly competent development team.
Many of our clients have already contacted us to improve the SEO ranking of pages of their website in everyday search queries. Don’t wait to see your site fall into the depths of the web. Contact us today to get a SEO diagnostic of your web and start improving your SEO rankings on major search engines.