Including a rel=canonical link in your webpage is a strong hint to search engines your preferred version to index among duplicate pages on the web. It’s supported by several search engines, including Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. The rel=canonical link consolidates indexing properties from the duplicates, like their inbound links, as well as specifies which URL you’d like displayed in search results. However, rel=canonical can be a bit tricky because it’s not very obvious when there’s a misconfiguration.Common Mistakes With rel=canonical [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk]
Google recommends the following best practices for using rel=canonical:
- A large portion of the duplicate page’s content should be present on the canonical version.
- One test is to imagine you don’t understand the language of the content—if you placed the duplicate side-by-side with the canonical, does a very large percentage of the words of the duplicate page appear on the canonical page? If you need to speak the language to understand that the pages are similar; for example, if they’re only topically similar but not extremely close in exact words, the canonical designation might be disregarded by search engines.
- Double-check that your rel=canonical target exists (it’s not an error or “soft 404”)
- Verify the rel=canonical target doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag
- Make sure you’d prefer the rel=canonical URL to be displayed in search results (rather than the duplicate URL)
- Include the rel=canonical link in either theof the page or the HTTP header Specify no more than one rel=canonical for a page. When more than one is specified, all rel=canonicals will be ignored.
Further Google reco on rel=canonical vs 301 re-direct
Over to you…
How do you manage duplicate content? Share below…