Understanding the concept of the canonical URL in SEO

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In the world of natural referencing, the notion of canonical or URL canonical is essential to ensure good indexing by search engines such as Google.

This article guides you through the different aspects of this SEO practice and explains how to optimise your web pages effectively using it.


What is a canonical URL?

To understand what a canonical url is, let's start by defining what "canonical" means in computing. The term generally refers to a standard or official element used as a basis for comparison or evaluation.

In the context of SEO, a canonical URL is therefore theunique address of a preferred web page among several versions accessible via different URLs.

Why does this happen? When a site has several similar pages with identical or very similar content, there is a problem of duplicate content. Search engines find it difficult to differentiate between these pages and don't know which one to favour.

As a result, their indexing and positioning can be greatly affected.

The solution to this problem is to specify the canonical URL, i.e. the version preferred by the webmaster. In this way, the search engines will be informed of the validity of this version in relation to the others and will be able to avoid penalising the site in question.

How do I choose the canonical URL?

Selecting the canonical URL depends on a number of factors. Here are a few criteria to consider:

  • Contents: The version offering original, complete and relevant content for users should be considered canonical.
  • Organisation: The canonical URL should respect the hierarchical structure of the website to ensure smooth navigation.
  • Technical details : It is preferable to use URLs that are simple and easy for search engines to understand.

However, it is important to note thatthere are no absolute rules to determine which URL is the most appropriate. Some webmasters may prefer a page for its performance, others for its format. It all depends on the objectives and overall strategy of each site.

Identifying and solving canonical URL problems

Common problems

There are many problems associated with the incorrect or non-existent use of canonical URLs. Here are a few examples:

    1. Duplicate content : As mentioned above, if Google finds several pages with similar content, they risk being penalised in terms of indexing and ranking.
    2. Incorrect indexing : Search engines can index several versions of the same page, leading to fragmentation of results and a weakening of overall positioning.

Solutions for good management of canonical URLs

In order to master the use of canonical URLs correctly and avoid the problems mentioned above, here are a few practical tips:

    • Use the html link rel= "canonical " : This tag is used to clearly indicate the canonical URL of a page to search engines. It should be placed in the head section of the page concerned.
    • Optimise your URLs : Your web addresses should be simple and well-structured to make them easier for search engines to index. exploration robots.
    • Avoid duplicate content: Wherever possible, create unique content on your site to maximise its SEO potential.

Why is it crucial to use canonical URLs in SEO?

Adopting an appropriate canonical URL strategy is essential for good visibility and search engine ranking. Here are some of the main reasons why:

  1. Improves indexing : Clearly indicating the preferred version of a page enables crawlers to understand and index your site more efficiently.
  2. Eliminates penalties: Specifying canonical URLs helps to resolve problems of duplicate content and avoid potential penalties.
  3. Optimises referencing: Search engines take into account traffic, keywords and external links and authority. By using canonical URLs correctly, these factors are concentrated on a single page and not scattered across several versions.

In short, mastery of canonical URLs is a major asset in the design and optimisation of a website.

This not only ensures better indexing by search engines, but also avoids penalties for duplicate content.

To do this, you need to choose your web addresses wisely, use the appropriate tags and make sure you offer unique and relevant content.

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