Every SEO specialist knows that indexing issues can be a real pain. Thus, we always need to know how to fix them and make sure that our pages rank properly by search engines. Canonical tags and 301 redirects are two methods that can be used to help ensure that a website’s content is properly indexed. These methods can help prevent issues such as duplicate content, which can negatively impact a website’s search engine optimisation (SEO).
Today, we will briefly explain what canonical tags and 301 redirects are. We hope that this knowledge will help you when auditing your website and having indexing issues that need to be resolved.Want help with technical SEO?
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. This tag instructs search engines which version of a webpage should be considered the “canonical” or primary version.
This is a very useful solution 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.
Usually, when search engines see two similar pages, they get confused and are not sure which one to pick and rank. When such situation occurs, most of the time they decide not to index any of them. Thus, it is important to use a canonical tag to avoid this.
For instance, 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 exact content. Without a canonical tag, search engines might treat these as two separate pages, which could lead to duplicate content. This then can cause more 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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