In simple words, canonical URL is a unique URL referring to the originality of the content and search engines take help of canonical tag to avoid duplicacy over the internet.
Whenever you publish any content on your website, a unique URL got generated which is a canonical URL of your written content.
If you publish your same content over platforms such as Medium then you’ll notice, canonical URL of the webpage will refer to your website’s URL.
Canonical URL: Same Content, Multiple URLs
That’s exactly the whole concept behind canonical tags and URL.
Let’s deep dive into the concept:
What is a Canonical URL?
A canonical Url Tag can be found on a webpage and tells search engines if there is any other original version of the content or the page itself is original.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://thebloggingtime.com” />
This tag is specifically added to your webpage for search engines because search engines periodically crawl the internet and in order to deliver the information they avoid other versions of the content and only focuses indexing the original one.
Why They Matter?
Let’s make it simple.
Suppose, search engine crawlers find multiple URLs with same content then they’ll find hard to decide which one to rank.
A canonical tag (rel canonical) helps search engines to rank the original content and decide which one to get the credit and SEO benefits.
In order to improve user experience, Google avoids non-canonical URLs and ranks the original one.
Examples of Duplicate Content:
1. On the Same Website:
https://www.example.com and https://example.com redirect to the same homepage but differ in URL and similar in content.
If you have such looking URLs then you should always specify search engines that which one is the original version using the canonical tag.
2. On Other Platforms
If you’re re-publishing your content on platforms such as Medium and wordpress.com, then mostly they’ll add the canonical URL by themself or you should add canonical URL manually.
Many people believe that duplicate content will penalize your website and you’ll never going to rank.
These are myths and even Google accepts that it doesn’t penalize a website for duplicate content.
Then what it does?
It merely filters out duplicate results to create a better experience.
Then why I should concern about canonical tag?
Because it helps you to get the SEO benefits and better search engine ranking. Because you’re original.
I hope you understood what is a canonical URL from this quick guide. Let me know in the comment section