Canonical URL for SEO –Best practices to avoid duplicate content

A few articles back you might noticed that we posted how to setup, configure and use All in one SEO pack and in that post we just mentioned you to check the canonical URL’s in general settings, since it’s a topic about All in one SEO pack we haven’t explained you about canonical URL’s.

Canonical URL for SEO - Best practices to avoid duplicate contentIn this post you will learn what is canonical URL? How canonical URL’s does helps you in SEO and some best practices to avoid duplicate content?

Duplicate content. (Canonical URL for SEO)

WordPress and other CMS make similar same content on different places (URL) which looks like a self-created duplicate content within your site that is without your knowledge.  For example take a look at this two URL in my site http://blogtimenow.com/wordpress/set-maximum-image-upload-size-wordpress/ and http://blogtimenow.com/how-to/set-maximum-image-upload-size-wordpress/.

I assigned that post in two related categories for more user experience and what it gets me is two different URL’s having same content that is duplicate content.  Google and other search engines think that you have two different URL’s with same content (duplicate). So what to do with this issue? This is where the canonical URL helps you.

What is canonical URL and how does it help in SEO?

The word canonicalization is used in computer science which refers to giving an approved format to something with some rules. Not clear: Canonicalization is establishing authority to something.

For example take that two URL’s above: Search engines doesn’t know which URL is right and which one to index and by using canonical URL I am setting a preferred URL (Standard, required, correct, original, established) and by doing so search engine indexes the right URL and simply rejects the other from indexing.

So what about the other URL? The other URL looks normal for humans, but to crawlers it is a 301 redirect which passes more authority to the original URL that helps to rank well in search results.

What about backlinks? Backlinks pointing to non-preferred URL also does a 301 redirect to original URL.

Right click on both URL’s and view page source you will see this tag that is added in site’s header and this is canonical URL.

Canonical URL for SEO - Best practices to avoid duplicate content

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://blogtimenow.com/wordpress/set-maximum-image-upload-size-wordpress/”/>

This tag rel=”canonical” is yet another parameter something like rel”nofollow” tag that you commonly use. So you have the right URL’s indexed in search engines which does a great job in ranking that URL which has more authority.

How to set a canonical URL in wordpress?

To set a canonical URL in wordpress follow these three steps.

Setting up canonical URL for Homepage in your wordpress general settings

Set any one prefer domain http://www.yourdomain.com or http://yourdomain.com. We prefer http://blogtimenow.com so when the users type www.blogtimenow.com it simply redirects to the main version. How to do this? Go to wordpress dashboard >> general settings and enter your preferred domain in wordpress address (URL).

Canonical URL for SEO - Best practices to avoid duplicate content

Verify your canonical URL for homepage in Google webmaster tools

Login to your Google webmaster tools and select your domain. Go to site settings and set your preferred domain and save.

Canonical URL for SEO - Best practices to avoid duplicate content

Adding canonical URL’s for all posts and pages in wordpress

Adding canonical URL to posts and pages is the main thing. To do this Just install any one of these SEO plugins and it does the job. Yoast SEO automatically adds canonical URL and for All in one SEO check canonical URL’s in general settings.

Hope this article helped you with canonical URL’s and that gets you from avoiding duplicate content. Now you don’t need to worry about duplicate contents in your site anymore. Happy Blogging!

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