Canonical Tag

A Definition to a Common Term Related to Web Analytics

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Term: "Canonical Tag"


A canonical tag, formally known as a canonical link element, is an HTML tag used by webmasters to prevent duplicate content issues and consolidate the ranking signals for duplicate or similar content into a single preferred version. The tag is placed within the <head> section of a webpage and looks like this: <link rel="canonical" href="">. This element informs search engines about the original or "canonical" URL of the webpage, guiding them to consider this URL as the authoritative version when indexing and ranking content. Implementing canonical tags is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) as it helps manage content duplication, which can arise from different URL parameters, session IDs, or multiple versions of a webpage (e.g., mobile vs. desktop). By using canonical tags effectively, websites can avoid potential penalties from search engines for duplicate content, improve their SEO performance, and ensure that the link equity (such as backlinks) is correctly attributed to the preferred version of the page. This results in better visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), enhancing the overall user experience and site traffic.

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