How Canonicalization Affects Your Website's SEO

by DiTech CDM   •   June 02, 2023   • 0 shares

canonical tag in seo

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO) , various factors influence the visibility and ranking of your website. One such factor is canonicalization. Canonicalization refers to the process of selecting the preferred version of a webpage when multiple versions of the same content exist. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of canonical tags, understand how duplicate content impacts SEO, learn the reasons behind duplicate content, and discover how to properly canonicalize pages to optimize your website's SEO.

What Is a Canonical Tag and How Does It Impact SEO?

what is a canonical tag

Before delving into the impact of canonicalization on SEO, let's first understand what a canonical tag is. A canonical tag, also known as a rel="canonical" tag, is an HTML element that informs search engines about the preferred version of a webpage among multiple versions that may have identical or highly similar content. By using the canonical tag in SEO , you can guide search engines to index and rank the desired version of your page while avoiding any negative SEO consequences.

What is Duplicate Content?

duplicate content in seo

Duplicate content refers to blocks of content that are either completely identical or substantially similar across different URLs on the internet. Search engines strive to provide the best user experience, so when they encounter duplicate content , they face the dilemma of determining which version to prioritize in their search results. This can potentially have a negative impact on your website's SEO.

What Are the Reasons for Duplicate Content?

There are several reasons why duplicate content may exist on the web:

  1. URL Variations : Different URLs can lead to the same content. For example, appending parameters, session IDs, or tracking codes to a URL can create multiple versions of the same page.
  2. WWW vs. non-WWW : Having both "www" and "non-www" versions of your website can cause duplication issues. Search engines may see these versions as separate pages, leading to duplicate content problems.
  3. HTTP vs. HTTPS : Similarly, having both HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website can result in duplicate content. It is crucial to redirect one version to the other to avoid confusion for search engines.
  4. Printer-Friendly Pages : Printer-friendly versions of webpages often contain the same content as the original page but with a different URL. This can lead to duplicate content issues.
  5. Scraped Content : Sometimes, other websites may scrape your content and republish it on their own site, resulting in duplicate content across multiple domains.

How to Canonicalize Pages

url canonicalization

Now that we understand the importance of canonicalization and the causes of duplicate content, let's explore how to properly canonicalize pages on your website:

  1. Implement the Canonical Tag : Identify the preferred version of your webpage and add the canonical tag in the HTML header of all other versions. The canonical tag should point to the canonical URL of the preferred version, signaling to search engines which version to index and rank.
  2. Set Preferred Domain : Decide whether you want your website to be accessed with or without the "www" prefix and redirect the non-preferred version to the preferred one. This helps consolidate your website's authority and avoids duplicate content issues caused by having both versions indexed.
  3. Implement 301 Redirects : Redirect any duplicate or similar versions of a webpage to the preferred URL using a 301 redirect. This permanent redirect informs search engines that the content has permanently moved to a new location, preventing duplicate content issues.
  4. Use URL Parameters Correctly : If your website uses URL parameters, ensure that they are properly handled. Set canonical URL or use the URL parameter handling tools provided by search engines to specify the desired behavior.
  5. Monitor and Update : Regularly monitor your website for potential duplicate content issues. As your site evolves, new instances of duplicate content may arise. Stay vigilant and update canonical tags or redirects accordingly to maintain the integrity of your SEO efforts .

Final Tips

To wrap up our discussion on canonicalization and its impact on SEO, here are some final tips to keep in mind:

  1. Conduct Regular Audits : Perform regular audits of your website to identify any instances of duplicate content. Use SEO auditing tools SEO auditing tools to scan your site and pinpoint potential issues that need to be addressed.
  2. Use Content Syndication Carefully : If you engage in content syndication or guest posting on other websites, make sure to use canonical tags or specify the source of the content. This helps search engines understand the origin and preferred version of the content.
  3. Leverage 404 Pages : If you have pages that no longer exist on your website, instead of leaving them as empty or generic 404 error pages, consider redirecting them to relevant, existing pages or setting up a custom 404 page that provides helpful navigation options.
  4. Focus on Unique and Valuable Content : While canonicalization helps manage duplicate content issues, it's essential to prioritize creating unique and valuable content. Original, high-quality content not only improves your SEO but also provides a better user experience, driving organic traffic and engagement.
  5. Keep an Eye on Indexation : After implementing canonical tags and redirects, monitor the indexation status of your preferred pages. Use tools like Google Search Console to check if search engines are correctly recognizing and indexing the preferred version of your content.


Canonicalization plays a crucial role in maintaining the SEO health of your website. By implementing canonical tags and addressing duplicate content issues, you can guide search engines to prioritize your desired versions of webpages, prevent dilution of your website's authority, and improve your search rankings. Regular monitoring and updating of canonicalization efforts will help you stay ahead of any potential duplicate content issues and ensure that your website's SEO remains strong. Additionally, leveraging a comprehensive content delivery and management solution like DiTech CDM can provide further support in optimizing your website's SEO. With its advanced capabilities for content centralization, efficient handling of URL variations, and streamlined content syndication, DiTech CDM can enhance your website's visibility and user experience. By utilizing DiTech CDM's features, such as creating alternative pages with proper canonical tags, you can ensure that search engines understand which version of your content to prioritize, ultimately driving organic traffic and improving search rankings. The ultimate goal is to provide a seamless user experience and valuable content to your visitors while signaling to search engines which version of your content is the most relevant and authoritative.

Stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing trends, technology updates, and marketing insights. Sign up today to stay ahead of the curve!

Schedule a Call

Recent Posts

Ready to boost your online presence?