Ignorance is most definitely not bliss when it comes to the world of SEO. In this article, we address a relatively simple search ranking element that many WordPress users overlook.
If you want to maximize your rankings in Google (and ensure that you are not penalized), you must take ownership of every element of SEO — from your link profile to your onsite optimization, and so on.
This can seem unfair for beginners — after all, how are you supposed to know what to do? The simple answer is that you can’t know.
The productive answer is that while you can’t know, you need to learn.
With that in mind, today I want to address one relatively simple element of SEO that many WordPress users do not even consider — canonicalization.
It isn’t particularly glamorous, but it is important, and you have no excuse not to get it right.
What is a Canonical Page?
I can’t put it better than Google:
A canonical page is the preferred version of a set of pages with highly similar content.
To explain the purpose of canonical pages, we must first explore the issue of duplicate pages.
For example, try accessing your site in the following ways:
You will find that both methods work. Another example would be any web page that has modifiers added to the end of the URL.
You could have an eCommerce site where the exact same product page can be found across various different URLs, depending on how filters are set and so on.
The problem with these multiple instances of the same content is that Google will probably index most (if not all) of the pages on your site.
Then, it has to decide which one it thinks is the correct page to push up through the rankings.
It would be far more preferable if you could help Google to understand which pages are carbon copies of each other so that they can selectively index only what is necessary.
That is where canonicalization comes in — you tell Google which is the preferred page for indexing and ranking.
How Do I Set “Preferred” Pages?
Please note that you never really have full control over what Google does and doesn’t index (unless you go down the “noindex” or manual URL removal route).
Good canonicalization is about demonstrating to Google what version of a page you think they should prioritize in their index.
Their algorithms will then take that suggestion into account when assessing your site’s pages.
At Marketing Solution Australia we strive to deliverer elegant responsive websites for your business integrated with our personal SEO Optimization package to bring your pages on the first page of Google.