Canonical Tag is Useless

The canonical tag is simply a way to silence webmasters.Webmasters and Duplicate Content

Yesterday at SMX West it was announced that Google, Yahoo! and Live have agreed upon a method to help webmasters define original content within a site. The canonical tag is a meta tag used to tell search engines which page to list in SERPs when multiple listings of the same, or very similar content exist in their databases.

On-site duplicate content has been a big issue since the beginning of the web. There are lots of things that could cause search engine spiders to index the same content at multiple locations. URL canonical variations (http://www.exmaple.com vs. http://example.com) is the most common issues, but there are others. This is a good explanation of the canonical tag and how it’s implemented.

In september the Google Webmaster Central Blog published a fairly extensive post on how search engines handle on-site duplicate content in hopes of dispelling a lot of the rumors and speculation circling the issue. Despite how clear the article was, and all the other resources on the web, there were still LOTS of questions about the issue.

As new webmasters come into the space trying to understand SEO and mitigating duplicate content the easy thing to do is ask Google. If you’re site is set up correctly duplicate content shouldn’t be an issue. The canonical tag, is not the end-all be-all of duplicate content. You still need a sitemap, good URLs, redirection from the www or the non-www to the correct path, etc. This tag is simply an easy answer to the duplicate content question.

What do you think? Have you implimented the canonical tag yet? Is it really THAT important considering all the other things that still need to be done?

4 Comments

Sean

This can be a big boon to seo industry where canonicalization has always been an hot topic to discuss

Florian

The canonical tag will be the death a ranking affiliate links, now every affiliate network/sponsor program with search engine friendly URLs can define an original version, no matter how strong affiliates link the site with thier IDs.

May not have a huge impact, but it will certainly cut down the income of some people alot.

Skiurlaub

Had never heard about that!
That fact really disturbs me cause the most part of my private sites are based strictly on that kind of tag.
Thanks for the information!

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