A Beginner’s Data to Canonical Tags

Understanding canonical URLs is essential in search engine advertising and marketing. 

Study the way in which it is best to use canonical tags (and completely different canonicalization methods) to have an effect on canonical URLs. And improve your web site’s effectivity on Google.

Let’s dive in.

What Is a Canonical URL?

A canonical URL is the URL for the “major” mannequin of a duplicated internet web page, as determined by search engines like google like google like Google.

As an example:

  • Canonical URL: https://occasion.com/weblog/
  • Alternate URL: https://occasion.com/weblog/?internet web page=1

Observe: The canonical internet web page could be known as the “principal,” “major,” or “advisor” mannequin.

Google dislikes duplicate pages. Because of it doesn’t want to serve repeat search outcomes. Or waste belongings on pages that provide no distinctive price.

So, when Google finds duplicate (or near-identical) pages on an web web site, it selects a canonical URL to represent all of them. Then prioritizes this internet web page all through indexing and score. 

Google doesn’t on a regular basis make the selection you want. 

Nonetheless, it’s possible you’ll have an effect on canonicalization by means of using canonical tags. And another strategies.

What Is a Canonical Tag?

Canonical tags, additionally known as canonical hyperlinks or rel=”canonical” tags, will allow you to have an effect on canonicalization. 

Google considers your specified rel=”canonical” tags when deciding on canonical URLs (nonetheless doesn’t rely upon them completely).

Found inside the <head> a part of a webpage’s HTML provide code, a canonical tag seems to be like like this:

<hyperlink rel="canonical" href="https://occasion.com/preferred-url-here/" />

an image highlighting "alternate URL" and "Canonical Tag"

Often, canonical tags stage from an alternate internet web page to the favored internet web page.

an illustration of canonical tag pointing from an alternate page to a preferred one

Nevertheless it’s moreover a superb suggestion to utilize self-referencing canonicals

In numerous phrases, each canonical internet web page must have a canonical tag that components to its private URL.

Like this:

an image highlighting "self-referencing canonical"

Google’s John Mueller confirmed the importance of self-referencing canonicals.

“It’s not necessary to have a self-referencing canonical tag on an internet web page, nonetheless it does make it easier for us to decide on exactly the URL that you simply simply want to have chosen as canonical,” he stated in a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout.

Canonical tags are a useful deduplication gadget. They’ll resolve factors with duplicate content material materials (or near-identical pages) it’s advisable protect.

As an example: 

  • American English and British English variations of the an identical internet web page
  • Parameterized URLs (e.g., listings pages with filters or sorting selections utilized)

Why steer clear of duplicate content material materials?

Because of it might truly set off key phrase cannibalization. This occurs when quite a lot of pages on a web site compete for the same rankings. And harm each other’s rankings inside the course of. 

By using canonical tags appropriately, you help Google understand your web site’s development. And decide the easiest mannequin of a duplicated internet web page.

This helps make sure that the mannequin you want is the one confirmed in search outcomes (and the one searchers entry). This can end in bigger click-through, engagement, and conversion fees.

Plus, Google consolidates the “score vitality” of alternate pages on canonical URLs.

Let’s say you’ve obtained backlinks (hyperlinks from exterior domains) pointing to different duplicate pages. 

If these pages canonicalize, Google will cope with all of them as hyperlinks to the canonical URL. Collectively, they’ve a constructive affect on rankings.

an illustration of backlinks, alternate URLs and canonical URLs connection

Observe: Google now not recommends using canonical tags for syndicated content material materials. As a substitute, syndication companions are prompt to dam indexing with the proper meta tags.

To implement canonical tags in your HTML, it’s possible you’ll add the rel=”canonical” tag to the <head> a part of the net web page. 

As a reminder, that seems one factor like this:

<hyperlink rel="canonical" href="https://occasion.com/preferred-url-here/" />

Nevertheless your content material materials administration system (CMS) or a CMS plugin might will allow you to specify canonicals with out going into the HTML. 

Protect learning for instructions on Magento 1, Magento 2, WordPress, and Wix.

Or soar ahead to review different canonicalization strategies.

Magento 1

Within the occasion you’re working a Magento 1 retailer, observe these steps to specify canonical URLs for product and sophistication pages.

Product Net web page Canonicals

Log into your admin panel, then head to “System” > “Configuration.” 

Click on on “Catalog” and open the “Search Engine Optimizations” half.

where to specify canonical URLs for product and category pages in Magento 1

If it isn’t already, set the “Use Canonical Hyperlink Meta Tag For Merchandise” self-discipline to “Positive.”

set the “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products” field to “Yes”

Class Canonicals

Head once more to the “Search Engine Optimizations” half on the “Catalog” internet web page.

Uncover the “Use Canonical Hyperlink Meta Tag For Lessons” risk and guarantee it’s set to “No.”

set the “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories” option to "No"

Now, it’s possible you’ll manually specify the canonical URL for lessons.

Head to the edit internet web page of any class that you simply simply want to canonicalize and uncover the “Personalized Design” tab.

Throughout the “Personalized Construction Exchange” area, add the following code. Guaranteeing to swap in your canonical URL.

<reference title="head">
<movement methodology="addLinkRel">

“Custom Layout Update” box in Magento 1

Magento 2

Within the occasion you’re working a Magento 2 retailer, observe these steps to specify canonical URLs all through your web site.

Log into your admin panel, then go to “Retailers” > “Settings” > “Configuration.”

Subsequent, open “Catalog” > “Catalog” and go to the “Search Engine Optimization” half.

“Search Engine Optimization” section in Magento 2
Image Credit score rating: Amasty.com

Set “Use Canonical Meta Tags For Lessons” to “Positive” so Magento will routinely add canonical tags to alternate class pages.

The default config path is “catalog/web site positioning/category_canonical_tag.”

Moreover set “Use Canonical Meta Tags For Merchandise” to “Positive” so Magento will routinely add canonical tags to alternate product pages.

The default config path is “catalog/web site positioning/product_canonical_tag.”


You probably can set canonical URLs in your WordPress web site by means of using a WordPress search engine advertising and marketing plugin. 

We’ll check out how to try this with two of the popular plugins: Yoast search engine advertising and marketing and Rank Math search engine advertising and marketing.

Yoast search engine advertising and marketing Plugin

Within the occasion you’re using the Yoast search engine marketing plugin, head to the Yoast search engine advertising and marketing selections on any internet web page or put up. 

Then, broaden the “Superior” tab. 

You’ll uncover a “Canonical URL” self-discipline the place it’s possible you’ll specify the net web page’s canonical URL.

“Advanced” tab in Yoast SEO options

Rank Math search engine advertising and marketing Plugin

Within the occasion you’re using the Rank Math search engine marketing plugin, head to the “Rank Math search engine advertising and marketing” area on any internet web page or put up. And open the “Superior” tab.

The “Canonical URL” self-discipline lets you specify the canonical URL for the net web page.

“Advanced” tab in “Rank Math SEO” box


By default, Wix pages use a self-referencing canonical tag.

You probably can change the development of your canonical tags by going into your search engine advertising and marketing settings.

First, head to “Promoting and advertising and marketing & search engine advertising and marketing” > “search engine advertising and marketing” > “search engine advertising and marketing Settings.” After which choose the form of internet web page that you simply simply want to edit.

For this workflow, we chosen “Elementary Pages.” 

"Edit by page type" section in Wix “SEO Settings”

After selecting the form of internet web page, click on on on the “Edit” button contained in the “Additional meta tags” half.

“Edit” button within the “Additional meta tags” section highlighted

Lastly, add variables to the sphere beneath “canonical” by clicking on “+ Add Variable.” And selecting associated objects from the itemizing that appears.

adding variables section with a drop-down menu

You may even edit the canonical tags of explicit individual pages. Merely click on on on the “Edit by Net web page” tab and select the net web page with the canonical tag that you simply simply want to edit.

Then, click on on on the “Superior” tab inside the sidebar that appears. And go to “Additional tags.”

image guiding readers how to edit the canonical tags of individual pages

Lastly, edit the hyperlink that appears inside the “canonical” self-discipline.

“canonical” field highlighted

Totally different Strategies to Specify Canonical URLs

Often, you specify canonical URL preferences using canonical tags. Nevertheless there are completely different methods it’s possible you’ll try:

Determining which form of canonicalization to utilize helps you administration how your web site appears on Google. And it might truly forestall factors that come up due to duplicate content material materials.

Let’s check out these deduplication methods in further component.

A rel=“canonical” HTTP header lets you specify a canonical URL for non-HTML paperwork.

As an example, when you have got a .docx and .pdf mannequin of the an identical doc on-line, it is best to use this system to level your most popular mannequin.

Nonetheless, you need to have the flexibility to alter your server’s configuration.

Throughout the .htaccess file, specify a canonical URL by together with code that seems like this:

Hyperlink: <https://www.occasion.com/downloads/filename.pdf>; rel="canonical"

Redirect Duplicate Pages to Canonical Pages

URL redirects ship Google (and prospects) from one internet web page to a distinct. 

Redirecting is the easiest deduplication methodology in case you don’t must protect the alternate variations of the net web page. Nevertheless you don’t want to delete the URLs altogether.

As an example, if you’ve obtained HTTP and HTTPS variations of the an identical internet web page. Google prefers HTTPS variations. So, it’s good in your search engine advertising and marketing to redirect the HTTP mannequin to the HTTPS one.

Google recommends utilizing 3xx redirects (server-side redirects) for the quickest outcomes. 

This consists of the 301 redirect, which you’ll be capable of be taught additional about in our 301 redirect data.

File Canonical URLs Solely in Your Sitemap

“All pages listed in a sitemap are suggested as canonicals,” in accordance with Google.

This suggests it’s a superb suggestion to submit canonical URLs (and non-duplicated pages) solely in your sitemap. And depart alternate URLs out. 

It’s not an unlimited topic in case you depart duplicate pages in your sitemap. Google will resolve which mannequin is canonical. 

Nevertheless it might probably be a difficulty in case you depart most popular URLs out. So, protect your sitemap updated.

Within the occasion you don’t implement canonicals appropriately, Google may ignore them. And which will harm your search engine advertising and marketing effectivity.

Observe these canonical tag best practices for the easiest outcomes:

Solely Specify One Canonical URL Per Net web page

Solely specify one canonical URL per internet web page. In another case, you’ll confuse Google.

Be careful to steer clear of accidentally along with two canonical tags inside your internet web page’s HTML code. Within the occasion you set the canonical tag using a setting in your CMS, don’t add additional canonical tags into your HTML manually.

And in case you add rel=”canonical” to the HTML, don’t moreover add it to the HTTP header.

Specify the Applicable Space Protocol

In case your web site sits on the HTTPS protocol, it is best to undoubtedly reference this as your canonical URL. 

Check out our data to be taught additional about redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS.

Specify Trailing Slash or Non-Trailing Slash URLs

Pay attention to whether or not or not your pages use trailing slashes (i.e., “/” symbols on the end of URLs). 

As an example: 

  • Trailing slash: https://occasion.com/
  • Non-trailing slash: https://occasion.com

If the an identical URL exists with every the trailing slash and with out, Google would possibly even see them as two separate URLs. You must undoubtedly reference your canonical URL appropriately by along with the trailing slash if wished.

And try to be fixed all through your web site.

Specify Non-WWW or WWW URLs

Non-WWW and WWW variations of a URL are seen as duplicate pages by search engines like google like google. 

As an example: 

  • Non-WWW: https://occasion.com/
  • WWW: https://www.occasion.com/

It’s best to determine on one mannequin and stick with it all through your entire web site.

Use Absolute URLs

Canonical tags must be referenced using absolute URLs fairly than relative URLs.

Which suggests it’s greatest to make use of the whole URL, collectively along with your space. Like this:

<hyperlink rel="canonical" href="https://occasion.com/weblog/" />

And by no means a relative URL. Like this:

<hyperlink rel="canonical" href="https://newjobspro.com/weblog/" />

It’s simple to make errors when implementing canonical tags. 

Listed beneath are two of the additional frequent canonical tag errors:

Pointing Canonical Tags to Redirected Pages

Be careful to not specify a canonical URL that redirects. This may increasingly solely confuse Google.

As an example, let’s say Net web page A redirects to Net web page B.

You shouldn’t have any canonicals that point to Net web page A. They should stage on to Net web page B in its place.

Using Canonical Tags for Non-Duplicate Content material materials

Solely set canonical URLs for duplicate or near-identical content material materials. 

Some SEOs try to make use of canonical tags to consolidate the score vitality of dissimilar pages. 

As an example, to direct authority from out-of-stock product pages to class pages.

Nonetheless, Google advises in opposition to this observe. And could be very liable to ignore these canonicals.

Uncover out what Google considers to be the canonical URL for any internet web page in your web page with Google Search Console.

After logging in, search for a URL on the prime.

search for a URL in Google Search Console

When the “URL Inspection” report is ready, open the “Net web page indexing” half.

Scroll proper right down to see the “Google-selected canonical.”

“Page indexing” section in Google Search Console

If this isn’t your most popular URL, you may need to evaluation the deduplication approach in your internet web page. 

To begin out, make sure that the “Client-declared canonical” is present and correct.

“User-declared canonical” section highlighted in Google Search Console

To audit your web site’s canonical tags at scale, use Semrush’s Site Audit gadget.

As quickly as setup is full, go to the “Factors” tab.

Then search “canonical.”

search "canonical" in “Issues” tab in Site Audit

Confirm for the following errors:

Site Audit results showing the list of different issues and errors

Let’s check out what these factors are and recommendations on tips on how to restore them.

# Pages Have Duplicate Content material materials Factors

This error reveals what variety of pages in your web site might probably be considered duplicates. Because of they attribute content material materials that’s in any case 85% an an identical to content material materials on one different internet web page.

Click on on the hyperlink to see affected URLs.

"17,764 pages have duplicate content issues" page

You probably can then resolve recommendations on tips on how to resolve the issue. See our duplicate content material materials data for suggestion.

# Pages Have Various Canonical URLs

This error reveals what variety of pages in your web site specify a few canonical URL.

Click on on the hyperlink to view an in depth breakdown.

"3 pages have multiple canonical URLs" page

To restore this topic, it’s advisable take away the extra canonical tag(s) and depart just one in place. 

This topic reveals which pages in your web site have broken canonical hyperlinks—i.e., specify a canonical URL that doesn’t work.

(Possibly because of it contains a typo. Or the net web page has been deleted.)

Click on on the hyperlink to see affected pages and the canonical URLs they stage to.

"120 pages with a broken canonical link" page

Canonical tags that point to non-existent webpages complicate Google’s functionality to crawl and index your content material materials appropriately. That may harm your rankings.

Ensure that to switch these to the right canonical URLs.

# AMP Pages Have No Canonical Tag

When your AMP pages don’t have canonical tags, the Site Audit gadget flags it as an issue. It’s important that canonicalization be in place between AMP and non-AMP variations of your internet web page.

You probably can restore this draw back by together with a rel=”canonical” tag inside the <head> a part of each AMP internet web page that components once more to the non-AMP internet web page.

Like this:

how to fix when an AMP page doesn’t have canonical tag

Tip: You must make the most of the look at bins and “Ship to…” button at any stage to create duties inside the Semrush CRM, Trello, or Zapier. 

“Send to…” button in Site Audit with drop-down menu options: "CRM", "Trello" and "Zapier"

Whilst you’ve mounted these factors, rerun the Site Audit using the gear icon inside the upper-right. 

gear icon in the upper-right highlighted

Then, look at that the canonical errors have disappeared. 

"Errors" section in Site Audit showing "0 errors"

Ready to start addressing canonical factors? Get started with Site Audit.

This put up was updated in 2023. Excerpts from the distinctive article by James Brockbank might keep.