Canonical URL Issue, Is Your Website Suffering From It?

Canonical URL issue is one of the most common issues in websites which results in under performance of a website and if corrected can give your website the competitive advantage over your competitors.

What exactly are canonical URL’s

Canonical URL’s are basically different URL’s which point to exactly the same page on a website. Normally these url’s occur due to carelessness or lack of knowledge of the person/company who made your website and if you are getting SEO done and your SEO company was unable to figure it out its a BIG blunder on their part. Matt cutts from Google has explained this issue here : https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/

Some Common examples of Canonical URL’s and how does it effect your rankings :

  • Your website is www.bluewigets.com but when you click on the logo or on the home button (or home text) you are redirected to a page with URL www.bluewigets.com/index.htm or www.bluewigets.com/index.php . This is one of the most common case of canonical URL’s.Now as you can see both the url’s www.bluewigets.com and www.bluewigets.com/index.html contain exactly the same content but google will consider them as 2 different pages. This can result in distribution of authority of your page into 2 pages which is actually a single page.This can also lead to duplicate content issue as google will think that both of these different pages contain duplicate content.I have seen some very big company websites having this issue when we started working on their websites.
  • When you are able to open your site by typing both www.sitename.com and sitename.com and both open as it is in google that means google might index all the URL’s with and without www thus its always recommended to redirect one to the other (see code at the end of the article for how to).
  • When you have a printer friendly version of each article on your website :

  • When your category structure of site automatically generates different versions of the same page :

How to correct this issue :

Canonical URL issue can be corrected by doing a 301 permanent redirect from different variations of your page to the variation you like the most. For example in the case when you have canonical url’s as www.bluewigets.com and www.bluewigets.com/index.html you can 301 redirect www.bluewigets.com/index.html to www.bluewigets.com

How to do a 301 permanent redirect

*I recommend that professionals should handle 301 redirects but those who like to DIY here are the details

I ll explain you the method of doing 301 redirect for the case where your website has both www and non www versions.

We can do a 301 redirect by writing a piece of code in the .htaccess file on the server (its located in the root folder on the server). If the file does not exist you can create one and upload it into the root folder of your server.

The code mentioned below will redirect non www version to www version of your site :

Options +FollowSymlinks

RewriteEngine on

rewritecond %{http_host} ^sitename.com [nc]

rewriterule ^(.*)$ https://www.sitename.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

I hope our visitors are able to make use of this article and grow their organic traffic by figuring out the canonical URL issue and then getting it corrected.

If you want us to resolve the issue for you, please contact us and we will be happy to help.