Digital Marketing

How to Implement a Rel=Canonical Link

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Rel=Canonical Video Tutorial Script

Hey everybody, today I am going to explain how to implement a rel=canonical link, and when you should use it. Let’s start with the benefits of implementation.

A Rel=Canonical link is intended to help you deal with certain types of duplicate content problems. The concept is to place this link on the duplicate, or near-duplicate, version of a piece of content and point to the master (or canonical) version.

This tells the search engines “hey, I’m a duplicate,” it asks them to ignore the duplicate, and to pass any link juice or PageRank back to the canonical version of the page.

How do you Implement a Rel=Canonical Link?

  1. Identify the page on which page you want to implement a rel=canonical, we’ll call that the source page.
  2. Identify the page which will be the target for your rel=canonical, we’ll call that the destination page.
  3. Write out the actual canonical tag as follows (shown below).
  4. Place the tag in the section of the source page.
  5. Update the source page on your live web site.
Rel=Canonical Example
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.yourdomain.com/destination-page/” />

Now that you know how to implement a rel=canonical, let’s make sure we understand when to use it.

The key use case for this tag is when you have a source page that has most or all of its content on another page on the web. For example, if you have a page about men’s running shoes, and you offer a page that shows only those men’s running shoes that are over $60.

In this example, all of the shoes on the over $60 page show up on the page that lists all the shoes regardless of price. The over $60 page is a strict subset of the all shoes page.

Another example might be if you syndicate content to a 3rd party web site. I.e., you publish the content on your site, but you let someone else publish a copy of the page. In this case, you would potentially want the 3rd party that is republishing your content to implement a rel=canonical to your copy of the article on your site.

One last point. Rel=Canonical is treated as a “hint” or “suggestion” by the search engines. They do not have to honor the hint, so there is no guarantee that they will use it as intended. Normally, they will only ignore your suggestion if you misapply it, but it’s important to know that there are no guarantees.

More of Digital Marketing Classroom

For other tutorials in this series see: Digital Marketing Classroom.

About the Author

Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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Thoughts on “How to Implement a Rel=Canonical Link”

  1. Thank you for providing this!
    One note: The “” seems to be missing from Step 4. (Thanks, WordPress.)

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