Canonical URLs are URLs that can be used to access a specific web page. They are the most reliable way of getting to a given website.
Canonical URLs are very important for SEO purposes. They help search engines find the best version of a given webpage and rank it accordingly.
Why Do I Need to Care About Canonical URLs on My Site?
A canonical URL is a link or URL that is considered to be the “official” version of a website. When you have multiple URLs for your website, it can be confusing for Googlebot to know which one they should visit.
A canonical URL is created when you are working with a content management system, like WordPress or Drupal. It is also created when you are using a CDN – Content Delivery Network – which distributes your content across many servers around the world and saves bandwidth by serving the same file from different locations.
The canonical URL ensures that Googlebot always lands on the right version of the content that should be indexed.
Additionally, using rel=canonical in your URL helps the search engines display the right content to the visitors.
How Can I Set the Canonical URL For My WordPress Website?
The easiest way to define a canonical URL is using an SEO plugin.
If you are using Yoast SEO plugin for wordpress, you can set or edit the canonical URL for posts, pages, and custom post types under the advanced tab of the Yoast SEO metabox.
While Yoast does a great job of automatically selecting the correct URL for a post or page, it makes it easier to edit if need be.
If you are using RankMath SEO plugin, you can set or edit the canonical URL under the advanced tab.
Like Yoas SEO, RankMath does a great job of selecting the best version of the post or page URL. But still hands you the power to edit if you want to do that.
3 Steps to Fixing Canonicals on Your Site
As mentioned earlier, canonical links are links that point to the most ‘preferred’ version of the content. If a website doesn’t have canonical URLs declared, they may suffer a ‘duplicate’ content issues.
The three steps to fixing canonicals on your site:
- Find all the canonical URLs on your site with the search function.
- Add or remove rel=canonical on the URLs (if it make sense to be there, keep it). If non exists where it should, add one.
- Use the Google Search Console tool to verify that you have removed all other duplicate canonical URLs from other websites and blogs.