Understanding the Basics of Canonicalization

The Basics of Canonicalization in San Diego, CA

When variations of a URL lead to the same page of a website, it’s referred to as canonicalization. Pages with identical content but different URLs, even if it’s only a slight variation, pose a problem because traffic to those pages gets split up among each URL, ultimately making it difficult to achieve a desirable ranking on search engines. Learn more from trusted San Diego online marketing company, Saba SEO.

Decreasing Page Popularity

Canonicalization of specific pages of a website decreases the popularity of those pages. Even though the content is exactly the same, the search engine bots count each variation of a URL as a different page, effectively splitting up your traffic, even though it’s all going to the same place. The reason why this happens is because of the default settings for various web servers, which can produce results like this:

  • www.webpageone.com
  • webpageone.com/
  • www.webpage one.com/index.html

Effectively Redirecting Canonicalized Pages

Ideally, you want the preferred URL associated with your page to be the one that counts towards how that page ranks. Pages with different URLs for the same content can be directed to the preferred URL with server redirects, with the option to either redirect permanently or temporarily. Most servers do, however, correct to the version with the preferred format, which is usually the one with a backslash.

Correcting Canonicalization Issues

All internal links should be formatted with your preferred URL, a step that can correct a lot of canonicalization issues. Canonicalization can also be addressed by:

  • Using preventative redirects
  • Avoiding tracking IDs in organic links from other sites
  • Using a single homepage URL and linking consistently to that page internally

When steps are taken to ensure your web pages go the preferred URL, canonicalization doesn’t have much of an impact on rankings. It is, however, still important to be mindful of how traffic is counted and pay particular attention to internal links.

For help with online marketing efforts, including website development in San Diego, reach out to Saba, Inc. We offer free website audits and free consultations. Call (858) 277-1717 today!