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Use the Canonical
Over the past few weeks all the major search engines have announced support for a new link element to help clean the web of duplicate URL’s. This new element allows site owners to specify the default URL for any page to help avoid duplication.
Duplicate content can be a big problem for some sites as nearly all content can be accessed using different URL’s and leads to Page Rank can being diluted. Think of the following URL’s that all access the same content:
Even this post can be accessed through a different URL. There are then other times when additional data is passed in the URL that results in different URL’s for the same content, think about:
- Session ID’s
- Sorting results by ascending/descending
- Tracking code – analytics and landing pages
All these cases result in multiple URL’s pointing to the same content. This can result in a worse Page Rank for your site as your content becomes diluted and people linking to you link to several different URL’s – resulting in a lower number of incoming links to the page, which in result….lowers your “Google juice”.
Setting the Canonical
The newly supported link element allows the site owner to specify the correct URL for the page and is very easily done.
<link rel="canonical" href="/blog/seo/use-the-canonical/" />
All you need to do is place this into your <head> section and the search engines can use it to better index your site.
You can read more about this on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask’s blogs.