What Is SEO Canonicalization?

Canonicalization is not ‘SEO jargon’ aimed at confusing the layman and it has very little to do with ‘Canon’, the business and/or the vintage war weapon.

Even though it may sound like it and pronouncing it right takes some doing for the newbie, it is in fact a very simple SEO strategy that can yield excellent results for your online business in Mississauga.

Without much ado, let us explain how this works.

Canonicalization is a technique that shows search engines the correct version of a webpage on your website that must be ranked for a particular search phrase or for a particular type of information.

Yay! That made no sense.

I know. Let me make this clearer.

When someone asks you your website address, most people would say ‘www.________.com or .ca’. And that’s enough for people to reach you on the internet.

But along with www.________.ca, your website also has another address which is _____________.ca without the ‘www’ prefix. And another address at https://www.___________.ca and another one at _________.ca/index.html and another one at ________.ca/home.asp and another one at…!

Wait. This still doesn’t make sense.

All these urls (Universal Resource Locators), have the same content. They are all pointing to your homepage.

Yet, technically, for the search engine bot, these are multiple versions of the same content.

It looks like multiple clones of your website homepage vying for attention. Which one should be listed in search result pages?

Enter the ‘Canonical’

The Canonical is a simple tag that tells Google and other search engines, which url to pick consistently.

For example, if your preferred url structure is www.___________.ca, then using canonicalization tells Google that this is the version that must be listed in search engine result pages.

How does this affect rankings and SEO?

The advantages of Canonicalization

There are many advantages of canonicalization, both from a user’s perspective and from an online businesses perspective.

  1. More link juice:

    Let’s say you have written an awesome article about your online business in Mississauga that has every chance of being shared and earning some great natural links. But as explained in the example above, there are three different urls for the same article. Now, CNN sees the article and says, ‘Let’s share this one’. And they choose the ‘www’ version of the url to share. The next day, someone at BBC stumbles upon this article and says, ‘Wow. This is awesome. Let us share this’. Only, they choose the ‘non-www’ version of the article. The third day ‘Forbes’ shares the complete url with the ‘http’ prefix. This means, despite earning links from three top quality websites, each version of the page earns one link each. On the other hand with canonicalization, you’d have earned three links to a single page which would have passed on more value.

  2. The Crawl level:

    If there are four versions of each webpage on your website, it would take a lot more time for search engines to crawl through it. And search engine bots don’t like to waste time. They’d just look for other unique urls on your website and this means, that fewer unique pages of your site will be indexed.

If you’d like to know more about how SEO canonicalization may be costing you rankings, speak to an SEO consultant in Mississauga today.


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