How to use the canonical link

by Simon on February 2, 2012

The canonical link is used to tell the major search engines which URL you would prefer them to use when you have more than one URL pointing to the same page.

Here are some examples of the sorts of URL’s we are talking about.

  1. www.example.com/product.php?name=shoes&color=black&brand=clarks
  2. www.example.com/product.php?brand=clarks&color=black&name=shoes

If you simply add a <link> tag to specify your preferred version of the page’s URL inside the <head> section of your page then the search engines will treat all variations of the URLs to that page as pointing to the one you specify. So for our examples above you would add the following into the head of each page:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/product.php?name=shoes” />

If you are using a content management platform to manage your site (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc.) then these platforms can be configured to insert a canonical link into every page automatically.

If you are worried about that your site structure is negatively effecting your search engine rankings, then please use the contact us form and we’d be delighted to see what we can do to help.

For more details on how Google uses the canonical link go here.

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has written 57 posts on Oxford Digital Marketing.

Simon Wallace-Jones started his Digital Marketing work in the late 80's implementing solutions for companies like DEC, Sun and Tektronix. In 1996 he co-founded the pioneering company Relayware.com which developed one of the world's first web marketing automation solutions which is still in use today by leading brands like Sony, Lexmark and Lenovo. In 2008 he co-founded Oxford Digital Marketing to help smaller businesses take their use of Digital Marketing to a higher level.

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