How To Fix Canonical Issues In A Website
Whenever the search engines can access your website through several URLs, it gives rise to redirect URL in a website. Since this error can index your site under different URLs, it seems to be a site of duplicated contents. A canonical URL is a search engine friendly and authoritative URL that is used to describe the homepage.
What Are The Negative Impacts Of Canonical Issues?
Canonicalisation is the process by which you can pick up the best URL when several alternatives are available. Though it seems to be advantageous, it creates a problem for the search engine. It’s because when the search engine visits your website, it gets into a dilemma that which one will it index. It thereby often selects the wrong URL. Moreover, your site contains URL based session IDs. A session ID is a separate URL for each user visiting your website in each session.
The search engine spider may mistakenly index one of these session ID URLs instead of the main URL. Since a session ID URL is a unique URL for a specific session, it does not have any link authority. As a result, it becomes an obstacle when you try to rank your site in this competitive industry.
Standard Examples Of Canonical Issues In A Website
Below, we are providing you with an exemplification of canonical issues to give you a better idea. If the main URL of your website issues is ‘http://www.example.com,’ then your site can be accessed from the following URLs:
What Can Be Done To Resolve Canonical Issues In A Website?
The most effective method available to fix the canonical issue is the implementation of the permanent ‘301 redirect.’ You can execute this in the following ways that are mentioned below.
Implement A HTTP 301 Redirect With A .htaccess File
A 301 redirect carries over any link authority from one URL to another and even from a different domain as well. Since it is a permanent redirect, you can use it to avoid user complications. But, the underlying problem with HTTP 301 redirect is that it is quite hard to implement.
You can use this method if your website is hosted on any one of the servers listed below.
- Apache- Zeus or Sun Java
It is the easiest way to implement a permanent HTTP 301 direct by using these servers. Now, you will need to copy the code into your existing ‘.htaccess.’ file and save it as ‘.htaccess.’ Replace the ‘example.com’ domain name by your domain name. Change the rewrite rule and rewrite condition according to the ‘.php index page’ of your site. After making the necessary edits in the code, copy it to the ‘.htaccess’ file. To end this process, save the file and upload it to the root of the domain.
Setting Up A HTTP 301 Redirect Via Windows Server
This method applies to users who host their websites on a Windows server. But, you can use this method only when you have administrative privileges to access the hosting server. If you meet this criterion, then go through and apply the following steps.
- Click on the ‘Start’ button and open ‘All Programs.’
- Then, click on ‘Administrative Tools’ and select ‘Internet Information Services.’
- Right-click on the domain and choose ‘Properties.’
- Go to the ‘Home Directory’ tab and select ‘A redirection to the URL.’
- After that, enter the URL you want to redirect to and click ‘OK.’
- After fixing the canonical issues on a website, refresh the page several times to ensure that you are viewing a cached page. Note that if you use ‘.htaccessfile.’ or ‘IIS’ incorrectly, then it can bring down your website to a lower rank.
What Do You Mean By A Canonical Tag In HTML?
The Canonical tag is the way of informing search engines that a specific URL is the representation of a page. It is a preventive measure which you can use to avoid problems caused by identical contents available on multiple URLs. Furthermore, it authorizes the search engines that it has to display which version of the URL in the search results.
How Can You Use A Canonical Tag Correctly?
Besides the two solutions we have mentioned above, the canonical tag also helps to check redirect URL in a website. You can make the optimum utilization of the canonical tag if you take the following factors into consideration.
Canonical Tags Are Self-Referential: It’s better when canonical tag points to the current URL, that is to the canonical version among the duplicate URLs.
Proactively Canonicalize Your Home Page: Attach the canonical tag to your homepage template for preventing contingencies that may arise if people duplicate your homepage.
Spot-Check Your Dynamic Canonical Tags: A site writes a separate canonical tag for every URL version due to the usage of wrong codes. Hence, recheck your URLs, especially on E-commerce and CMS-driven sites to preserve the entire point of the canonical tag.
Try To Avoid Mixed Signals: It is recommended to avoid mixed signals so that search engines do not avoid a canonical tag or interpret it incorrectly. For instance, if you canonicalize page A to page B or page B to page A, then 301 redirect page A to page B. Apart from this, do not chain canonical tags that is, A to B, B to C, and C to A.
Carefully Canonicalize Near Duplicates: You will need to be extremely cautious when using the canonical tag on pages with almost similar contents. Before proceeding, ensure that it is possible to rank the non-canonical versions of those pages.
Canonicalize Cross-Domain Duplicates: If you publish the same article on numerous sites, then the canonical tag will focus your ranking power on one site only. Also, make it a point that canonicalization prevents non-canonical sites from ranking.
Therefore, we can assume that canonical tags can resolve a lot of canonical issues in a website. In spite of the benefits it provides, it has a drawback as well. You cannot use a canonical tag for country-specific TLDs or additional domains which you own.
Using Capitalization And Lower Case
Using capitalization in the URLs of your website is the most common mistake that several people do frequently. It is because hosting servers or hosting service are so case sensitive that they treat each of these upper cases as unique pages. It, in turn, leads to canonical duplication problems. Therefore, it is essential to create the URL of a webpage in lower case characters. A webpage may be internally or externally linked to another website using uppercase characters. As a result, it leads to a loss of rankings and traffic to that website. So, your content may get affected if users can access your site from both uppercase and lowercase variants of the same URL. It is not a big deal on the Windows server but is a great concern on Apache and Linux servers.
How Can You Resolve Capitalization And Lower Case Issues?
You can use SEO tools to analyze your site for uppercase and lowercase duplication issues. After getting the result, you can change the uppercase to lowercase characters.
You may write or modify access to the website’s ‘.htaccess.’ file. Though modifying the file can have drastic effects on your website functionality, it has proved to be useful to fix this issue. But, you can avoid these unknown circumstances by making a test after editing the file.
So, this ends the discussion on canonical issues in a website. If you have gone through the article carefully, then hopefully you won’t have any problem in troubleshooting such issues on your website.