Definition: Canonical Link

A Canonical Link is a link added to the metadata of the code of a page which indicates what the ‘main’ version of that page is in order to focus link equity on one page and to stop duplicate content penalties. For example, if a website sells shoes and uses lots of different ways to categorise them, then the exact same page might appear multiple times on a site – eg men’s Reebok trainers could appear in the category for men’s shoes, Reeboks, and trainers.

When this happens it is best practice to designate one version on the page as the canonical version (which is the version that will appear in search results) and to add a canonical link tag to versions of the page pointing to it.

You should also add the canonical link to the canonical page itself (ie Page A having a canonical link pointing at Page A). Many people argue for every page to have a canonical link, and targeting these at the page they are is referred to as having a self-canonical link.

Many CMS have an option to add a canonical link. If you need to add it manually, add the following code within the <head> section of your HTML:

<link rel=”canonicalhref=”[URL of the page]” />

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