A canonical URL tag helps search engines determine your preferred URL. This is important because it helps Google and other search engines index specific page content found on multiple pages under a specific URL and prioritizes them. Canonical URLs prevent problems caused by duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs. If canonical URLs are not in place and you have multiple pages with very similar or duplicate content, it will confuse search engines because they wouldn’t know which page deserves the ranking and might choose the wrong page to rank. With Canonical URLs in place, it helps search engines figure out which page to rank for.
Canonical tags are placed in between the <head></head> tags on your website.
Besides preventing duplicate content, Canonical URLs help specify which URL you want people to see in search results. Canonical URLs help with page rankings because the tag helps direct traffic to a preferred URL. If you have multiple pages that have very similar content, it’s best to canonicalize those pages to ultimately choose one of those pages to rank and earn visits instead of Google or other search engines choosing for you.
You have two versions of the same page with the exact content, but the only difference is the URL. Both URLs are indexed and have been linked to other sites at one point or another. Which page should search engines show in results?
This happens a lot more often than you think, especially with e-commerce sites. With e-commerce sites, a product can be found through many categories all having a different URL.
Both of these pages have the exact same content, the only difference is the URL. What do you? Canonical URLs were invented for this reason. In this example, you place the canonical URL like this:
That’s all you have to do. With the canonical URL set to point to the shorter URL, you are telling search engines to prioritize https://www.domain.com/shoe, and that this URL should be used for ranking purposes.
Here is a couple of things to keep in mind when implementing or checking your canonical URLs: