A Useful Fix for Duplicate Content Issues

I recently came across the concept of canonical URLs. It’s a useful fix for duplicate content issues within your site.

Say you have two different versions of the same web page, with very similar content. Maybe you use one of them is actually present in the navigation links in your website and the other is a landing page for your PPC ads. But obviously you wouldn’t want your page rankings and other metrics to be split between those two. An easy solution for this is to mark the “more important” page as a “canonical page” . According to the definition in Google Webmaster Tools Help , “a canonical page is the preferred version of a set of pages with highly similar content.”

So how do you mark a page as canonical?

It’s very simple, very similar to the concept of nofollow blogs. Lets consider the example I viagra for sale gave before. You have two similar pages in your website, one is an actual page in the website and another is a duplicate you use for PPC ads.



In this case, the more important page of the two is obviously “website_page.php”. So within the HTML code of “landing_ads.php”, all you have to do is add the following code in the <head> section:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.sample.com/website_page.php" />

When the search engine spider is crawling “landing_ads.php”, the canonical tag will instruct the spider that this page is simply a copy of  “website_page.php”and that whatever backlinks or traffic metrics this page has should point back to the “preferred page”, or in our case, “website_page.php”.

Technically, this seems similar to a 301 redirect, though there are subtle differences in the way both work. A canonical tag is mainly for the benefit

of a search engine, as opposed to a redirect which is intended for end users. There’s a good SEOmoz article in that explains this concept very well.

Are there some more useful other on-page optimization practices that you follow for your site? Do let us know in the comments section!