Canonicalization generally refers to a process for converting data with more than one possible representation into a standard or canonical form. Okay, so it’s a big word for a technical process. But what does it mean for SEO?
Well, sometimes websites have a lot of different sources for the same content. An entire page of content may appear in multiple places on your website, for example, or you may have multiple URLs pointing to the same place.
This happens a lot because the default setting for web servers often creates multiple URLs that only slightly differ from each other. We also refer to this as canonicalization.
Duplicate content is a big problem for search engines, because it confuses them. They don’t know what to show searchers when they run across the same content in multiple places.
Which version is the original? Which version is most important? To address this question, most search engines will simply not list results with duplicate content.
Therefore, if you have a lot of duplicate content on your website you won’t rank very high with search engines. They just won’t trust the legitimacy of your content.
Web developers can redirect URLs so that they can be changed or combined. To redirect means to forward one URL to another URL. If you input the original URL, it will automatically take you to the new URL or the redirect.
A 301 redirect is a redirect that is considered moved permanently by search engines. A 301 will rank with the same trust as its predecessor.
Now the search engine knows what to do! Indicating a 301 helps the search engine identify where this content goes, and what to show searchers.
In the simplest terms this is what canonicalization is, and how SEO professionals and web developers address it. In practice, it is a lot more technical depending on the different circumstances of your website.
It’s possible that your website may have hundreds of canonicalization errors, and it can be tedious and time consuming to fix. It can be challenging as well, if you don’t have the confidence or technical aptitude to get the job done yourself.
At Think Profits, dedicated SEO experts, will spend the time to fix the errors that are confusing search engines and affecting your search position.
If you are afraid canonization errors are affecting your website, or want to make sure you are continually taking the steps to optimize your website, contact the knowledgeable team at Think Profits for more information.