What Are Canonical Tags?

Tag image - canonical

You have probably heard the word canonical. But what does it mean? How are canonical tags used? Ensuring your website’s canonical structure is optimized correctly is essential for search engine indexing. But what are they? Let’s talk about it. Don’t worry, this won’t take long.


What is a Canonical Tag?

A canonical is an internal tag that references which page search engines should index. These are important if your website has a large number of duplicate or near duplicate pages. If we have two pages that are near duplicate, and both are indexed by a search engine, they will compete for target keywords. Competition between two of our own pages can lead to poor performance in search results. Canonical tags direct search engines to index one page instead of multiple duplicates to prevent competition.


When Would I Use a Canonical Tag?

Large e-commerce websites tend to have a large number of results or product pages that are almost the same layout and content. Because of this, Google will naturally crawl and index all pages leading to competition. This is where a canonical tag can help us.

We would place a canonical tag on each of these duplicate pages to reference the one page we want Google to index.


How To Create a Canonical Tag

The structure of a canonical tag is pretty simple. All we will need is the URL of the page that you want to reference on your duplicate page.


<link href=”domain.com/pagewewantindexed/” rel=”canonical”>

The URL highlighted in red is the page we want our duplicate pages to reference. That is the page we want search engines to index instead of the page we are placing this tag on.



Canonical tags are a great way to clean up duplicate content on your website. Like we discussed, duplicate content can lead to internal competition and poor organic search performance. If you need help deciding if you need canonical tags or help setting them up, get in touch!


Christian Cabney


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