Having canonical links is an excellent way to avoid penalties for duplicate content on your website while still ensuring that you keep all of the factors that help a page rank well from other duplicate pages. Having duplicate content on your website is usually not done on purpose but it can happen to even the best. We want you to know the best practices when it comes to canonical links and what to avoid when dealing with them. Through this helpful blog post, you should be able to identify problems you may have on your site. Addressing these issues will make sure that only the original versions of your pages are indexed and ranked on Google while keeping inbound links that may have been given to a duplicate version. If you are unfamiliar with what that canonical links are in the first place, be sure to read our last blog post on canonical links and what they mean for SEO to get a better understanding of them.
What to Do and Avoid: Canonical Linking
The rel=canonical tag is quickly becoming one of the simplest forms to redirect search engines to your original version of a page while maintaining all of your ranking factors from a duplicate page. Your users will still be able to visit and link to older pages but when a search engine follows these links to duplicate pages a canonical tag will inform them “do not rank this page, rank this page over here instead and I want all the authority of this duplicate page attributed to the original as well.” Building these links will keep search engines from getting confused when they are deciding which page to rank and which one will help with your rankings.
Canonical Linking vs. 301 Redirects: What’s The Difference?
Canonical links and 301 redirects do similar things, unfortunately, a 301 redirect will not let someone find a duplicate or old version of a page. If you still want users to be able to reach old versions of pages for any reason, then canonical links will help refer all the authority of the old page to the new one while still allowing users to reach old content.
Avoid Noindexing Duplicate Content When You Can
While no indexing might be able to resolve a few duplicate content problems it can create a whole bunch of other ones according to Moz. Whenever you noindex a page search engines will no longer be able to see that content and they will no longer be able to read any of the ranking signals form that page. This, in turn, means that any inbound links or shares of the duplicate page are lost instead of being contributed to the original page. You have a chance to avoid this with building canonical links or 301 redirects instead. They will help take care of your duplicate content troubles while keeping all of the valuable aspects of those extra pages.
Feel a Little Confused? Enlist Professional Help
If you’ve received the dreaded duplicate content or thin content warning on your site and you’re having trouble getting it fixed then it’s time to call in some help. A professional SEO company can build your canonical links and 301 redirects for you so that you never have to worry about your rankings being harmed. With professional help, you can focus on running your business rather than chasing around google warnings.
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