Well, before we fix Canonicalization error, let’s grab some basics understanding about the concept of canonicalization error. This is what we will cover today:

  1. What is Canonicalization
  2. How it impacts Website Authority
  3. How to fix Canonicalization error
  4. Usage of Canonical tag

What is Canonicalization Tag?

Have you ever observed you can access my website with the following URLs:

  1. www.onlineseoblog.com
  2. https://rockgrow.com
  3. https://rockgrow.com
  4. https://rockgrow.com

Canonical Tag, also refer as “rel=canonical” helps the search engine to understand which version of the website is the master copy or main copy for a specific piece of content. 

For example, in this case, I have declared Https://www.onlineseoblog.com as canonical URL for my website this will inform search engines https version is the primary URL for this website and hence all the Link Juice and Authority must be provided to this specific URL. 

Issue for Search Engine:

For us, this is as simple as anything type any URL and jump into the website but for Google or any other search engine, this comes under the category of canonicalization error. These varieties of URLs confuse Google which to pick as the main URL and pass Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) which in-return improves Page rank.

How Canonicalization Error impacts Website Authority Score:

Let’s take an example to better understand its bad impact on website SEO score.

You can access my website with four different URLs, as an approximation let’s say:

50% of audiences visit https version of the website and rest visit other versions. The same happens during promotion I promoted my https version of a website with more efficiency rather than other versions, the result of which the DA, PA score get divided. 

This would be the stats:

  • Https version

A. DA: 70

B. PA: 60

C. Backlinks: 1000

D.  PR: 10

  • Other versions

A. DA: 20

B. PA: 30

C. Backlink: 100

D. PR: 40

What’s happening here the result of all the efforts is getting distributed among Https and other versions of the website.

This issue of getting end result of all the efforts distributed among different versions of the website falls under the category of Canonicalization Error.

Ques. How to solve this error/effort leak? 

Answer: Apply Canonical Tag

How to set a Canonical tag on your website:

Duplicate content can create a problem for the websites when tested for SEO score hence we must apply a proper canonical tag to avoid any penalty.  

As if my knowledge there are different approaches we can take to set a canonical tag for the preferred version of our website for better SEO score. The below-mentioned methods have their own advantages and disadvantages the same we will discuss out of which you can pick the best one. 

Methods to specify Canonical Tag:

  • Google Search Console

Process: Visit Google search console account of your website. 

Learn how to create search console account  

Click URL Inspection and check the canonical version of your website. You can also set the canonical version by following the mentioned steps.  

Advantage: Quick and Easy

Disadvantage: Only restricted to Google 

  • rel=”canonical” <link> tag

This will include a little coding and hence we need to edit the source code of our website. 

Process: Use the code <link rel=”canonical” href=”[canonical URL]”> and mention your main URL in place of “Canonical URL”. Make sure to insert this code within the Head section of your website source code

Advantage: Efficient for multiple canonical tags declaration 

Disadvantage: Slower down the website speed 

  • 301 Redirect:

Process: Apply 301 redirect to other versions of URL which will direct Googlebot and other crawlers to the main URL

Advantage: Easy to execute 

Disadvantages: It harms user experience 

Now you have a piece of good knowledge about Canonicalization error and how to overcome the same. Let’s understand when it is the best case to implement the same. 

When to use Canonicalization Process

  • When different URLs point to the same content 
  • Mobile version has a different URL for the same content 
  • HTTP & HTTPS pointing to same content 
  • www and non-www directing to a similar page with the same content 

When not to opt cannibalization:

  1. Canonicalization of paginated URL’s comes under the black hat SEO technique
  2. Multiple tags harm your SEO score 
  3. Never use this tag outside of <head>
  4. It sometimes reduces the website speed

Easy Guide of Canonicalization Error for WordPress Users:

This will be very easy and quick, thanks to WordPress Plugin i.e. Yoast. 

Using Yoast SEO plugin we can achieve the target in quick time. Let’s check out how:

  • Visit the URL for which you need to set the canonical tag and hit Edit Page

canonicalization error

  • You must have Yoast SEO Plugin activated to follow the next step
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit Advance 

Canonicalization URL

  • Mention the Canonical URL in the respective section and Hit update 
  • Bingo Canonicalization task completed

How to verify the changes:

To verify the task success, visit the source code of the web URL and check for canonical tag:

  • Enter the Website URL
  • Hit Cntrl + U to open the source code
  • Hit Cntrl + F and enter canonical
  • You will find the updated canonical tag

Let’s work on the URL Structure: Nested URL Lecture

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