Canonical tags and 301 redirects are two methods that can be used to help ensure that a website’s content is properly indexed and ranked by search engines. These methods can help prevent issues such as duplicate content, which can negatively impact a website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
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A canonical tag, also known as a “rel canonical” tag, is an HTML element that can be added to the head section of a webpage. It tells search engines which version of a webpage should be considered the “canonical” or primary version. This is useful in cases where a webpage may be accessible through multiple URLs, or when there are similar pages on a website. By using a canonical tag, a website owner can specify which page should be considered the primary version, and avoid any potential SEO issues that could arise from having multiple versions of the same content.
For example, consider a website that has a “products” section, with each product having its own page. If a user accesses a product page through the main website’s navigation menu, the URL might look like this: www.example.com/products/product1. However, if the user accesses the same page through a search engine result, the URL might look like this: www.example.com/product1. In this case, there are two URLs that lead to the same content. Without a canonical tag, search engines might treat these as two separate pages, which could lead to duplicate content and other SEO issues. By adding a canonical tag to the head section of the product page, the website owner can specify which URL should be considered the primary version.
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