Canonical linking is a great way to avoid penalties for duplicate content on your site while making sure that you retain all ranking factors from duplicate pages. Duplicate content on your site usually isn’t intentional, but it happens all the time. We’ll go over the best practices for building canonical links and a few things to avoid when you’re dealing with them. With our help, you can make sure that only the original versions of pages are indexed and ranked in Google while retaining inbound links that may have been given to duplicate version. If you’re new to canonical links entirely make sure to read our blog post on canonical links and what they mean for SEO to get a better understanding of them.
The Dos and Don’ts of Canonical Linking
The rel=canonical tag is quickly becoming the easiest way to redirect search engines to the original version of a page while still keeping all the ranking factors of the duplicate page. Users can still visit and link to the old page, but when search engines follow those links to duplicate pages the canonical tag tells them “don’t rank this page, rank this other page over here instead and I want all of the authority of this duplicate page attributed to the original as well.” Building these links helps search engines from becoming confused when they are deciding which page to rank which helps with your rankings.
Canonical Linking vs. 301 Redirects
Canonical links and 301 redirects do similar things, but the downside is that a 301 redirect won’t let someone access a duplicate or old version of a page. If you want your users to be able to access old versions of your pages for whatever reason then canonical links will refer all the authority of the old page to the new one while still allowing users to access the old content.
Avoid Noindexing Duplicate Content When Possible
While no indexing may solve some duplicate content problems it creates other ones according to Moz. When you noindex a page search engines are no longer able to view that content, but they are no longer able to read any of the ranking signals of that page as well. That means that any inbound links or shares of the duplicate page are lost instead of being contributed to the original page. Avoid this by building canonical links or 301 redirects instead. They’ll solve your duplicate content woes while retaining all 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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