Duplicate content is definitely not good for your SEO. But how does one go about using duplicate content on their website? E-Commerce sites, for example, have product pages with different URLs that contain the same content. You would assume that this is going to hurt their SEO as they are duplicating the same content for those pages.
This is where canonical tags, or “rel canonical”, come into play. SEO specialists insert canonical tags on the back end of the pages to tell search engines that a specific page or URL represents a master copy of a page. By inserting canonical tags, you can lessen the risks of having identical or “duplicate” content appearing on different URLs. In simple terms, this is a way to tell the search engine which version of the URL you want to appear in search results.
Why Does It Matter?
When search engines crawl your URLs and find identical or duplicate content, it can cause a lot of negative impact on your SEO. One of those is that the search engines might miss the unique content that you are providing. Another risk that duplicate content may pose is that search engines may pick out the wrong URL to rank as the original or master copy. Canonical tags’ most important function is to control your duplicate content.
Canonical Tags Can Be Self-Referential
It may seem like an odd thing to do, but self-referencing with canonical tags is actually useful. Let’s say you get backlinks from all kinds of websites, putting a canonical tag on your site can help you prevent unforeseen SEO problems.
Double Check Your Canonical Tags
We get it. You get to see a bunch of different codes on a day-to-day basis. But it is important to double check your work especially when it comes to canonical tags. If you put in the wrong URL, then the canonical tag would be completely useless.