How Canonical Tags Can Cause SEO Nightmares

canonical-tags-mobile-seoIn recent years, Google has emphasized the use of helpful and relevant content on all websites to benefit users. This means many site pages are being created with specific content that can assist users and buyers understand and feel more relatable to the product or service provided. This new content combined with Google’s push to make sites more secure through the use of SSL certificates has created a new issue for marketers: duplicate content pages. You’re probably thinking, this is original content how can it be duplicate? Simple: New versions of your website’s pages are being created, while still having the same content on each page. Find out how these duplicates are made and situations where these can muddle your canonical tag implementation and SEO.

 

HTTP & HTTPS

Google has put forth a major effort to force websites to secure site visitors and customer information. One way this has been implemented is giving preferable rankings to HTTPS/SSL users. In the future, it will be detrimental to have HTTP only so many sites will be forced into compliance. The issue is this: using an SSL certificate to secure the website creates two versions of each domain. If your site does not have a canonical tag to your preferred domain (the HTTPS version) Google can and will likely have conflicting rankings for these pages, reducing your SEO success. Simply log into your website CMS and find the settings section that allows you to enable a site-wide canonical tag if you are starting a new site.

 

M. Websites

Although this type of site is becoming a relic online, there are some who still have a M. website listed as their mobile version of the website. The problem with this is yet again this has created two versions of your website URLs. If you have HTTPS and M. implemented you can easily have 4 versions of one page online. What should you do if your website has all items implemented? First and foremost: create a responsive version of your website. This is the standard bearer online today and eliminates the need for a M. website. Next, you will need to create 301 redirects from your M. website to your authoritative domain as well as redirecting your HTTP version to your HTTPs version. This will eliminate any issues that you may have with duplicate content if implemented correctly.

 

Where Is The Issue?

It may be accidental, but if redirect certain versions to the non-authoritative domain, you can be hurting your SEO significantly. Be sure to research the proper implementation so you are not sending confusing signals to Google’s algorithm. If your business is uncomfortable creating canonical tags and 301 redirects it is highly recommended that you reach out to a national SEO plan business so your “backend” SEO can be as effective as your fresh and helpful content!