How to Solve Canonical Issues on a Website?


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In the world of website optimization and search engine ranking, canonicalization issues can be the silent saboteurs of your SEO efforts. Duplicate content, inconsistent URLs, and other canonical headaches can confuse search engines and users, leading to lower rankings and a subpar user experience. But fear not; in this blog, we’ll unravel the mysteries of canonicalization and guide you through the best practices to address these issues.

What are Canonical Issues?

Canonical issues refer to situations where multiple URLs on a website lead to the same or very similar content. It can confuse search engines, as they may need to know which URL to index or rank, potentially leading to SEO problems.

Why are Canonical Issues Important for SEO?

As they can harm a website’s rankings and visibility in search engine results, canonical errors are essential for SEO. Multiple copies of the same content weaken the page’s authority and may cause search engines to rank the page lower. By resolving canonical issues, you can increase SEO performance by ensuring search engines recognise your content’s preferred version.

Tools for Detecting Canonical Issues

You can use various SEO tools, such as Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Moz, to find canonical errors on your website. Using these tools, you can quickly address duplicate or conflicting content on your website by having them scan it and indicate any instances.

Common Signs of Canonical Issues

Some common signs of canonical issues include:

  • Duplicate content appears on multiple URLs.
  • Inconsistent use of HTTP vs. HTTPS or www vs. non-www versions.
  • Parameterized URLs lead to similar content variations.
  • Multiple versions of the same page are accessible through different paths.

Addressing these signs will help improve your website’s SEO by resolving canonical issues.

❖    Why Canonical Tags Matter?

Canonical tags are essential for website SEO since they solve the problem of duplicate content. They are necessary for various reasons:

1. Clarity of Search Engines

Search engines can use canonical tags to determine which version of a page is better to index and rank. Without them, search engines might select any version, which could lessen the authority of your page in search results.

2. User Experience

When consumers arrive at several URLs that contain the same content, duplicate content can cause confusion. The overall experience of a website is enhanced with canonical tags, which contribute to a consistent and user-friendly experience.

3. Search Engine Optimization

A common problem with duplicate content is keyword cannibalization, in which several pages fight for the exact keywords. By combining ranking signals, canonical tags increase the competitiveness of your website in search results.

❖    How Canonical Tags Work?

1. Identification

The canonical tag indicates the ideal URL for a specific page. It informs search engines that this URL should be regarded as the main one.

2. Interpretation of Search Engines

A search engine knows which URL to prioritise for indexing and ranking when it comes across a canonical tag on a page while crawling the content.

3. Handling Duplicate Content

Canonical tags consolidate ranking signals from several URLs onto the desired one, helping to overcome duplicate content concerns. By doing this, it is guaranteed that the selected URL will appear in search results.

❖    The Importance of Proper Implementation

Canonical tags must be used correctly to provide the desired outcomes.

1. SEO Impact

Inadequate execution may have the opposite effect, escalating canonical problems instead of resolving them. To prevent confusion, make sure the canonical tag has the correct URL.

2. User Experience

Users will consistently see the chosen URL when a canonical tag is applied correctly, clearing up any uncertainty and enhancing their experience on your website.

3. Avoiding Penalties

Search engine penalties may arise from the improper usage of canonical tags, such as self-referencing or cross-domain canonicals. Implementation done correctly guarantees adherence to search engine requirements.

To sum up, canonical tags are essential SEO strategies that direct search engines and improve user experience. For the maximum benefits to be realized, their appropriate execution is necessary.

❖    Step-by-Step Guide to Solving Canonical Issues

Canonical tags are your primary tool for addressing canonical issues. Use them correctly to guide search engines to the preferred version of your content:

1. Conduct a Website Audit

It’s critical to comprehend the extent of the issue on your website before you can take appropriate action to resolve canonical difficulties. Begin with a thorough evaluation of your website:

  • Identify Duplicate Content: Use SEO auditing tools to find similar or identical content on other pages. This stage assists you in identifying the leading causes of canonical issues.
  • Check for URLs with parameters: Look for parameterized URLs on your website that can produce several versions of the same page. Parameter handling is crucial to achieve clean canonicalization.
  • Analyze WWW vs non-WWW and HTTP vs HTTPS: Ensure consistency in your domain structure (www vs non-www) and secure connections (HTTP vs HTTPS). Inconsistent URLs can lead to canonical confusion.

2. Prioritize Issues

The SEO of your website is not affected by canonical issues in the same way. When it comes to your SEO efforts, pay close attention to fixing canonical errors. Prioritize pages with substantial ranking potential, good content, or high traffic.

3. Implement Canonical Tags

  • Using HTML Tags: Insert canonical tags in your web pages’ HTML <head> section. Specify the preferred URL to consolidate ranking signals.
  • Using HTTP Headers: You can also implement canonicalization at the server level by sending the rel=canonical HTTP header in the response. This approach is beneficial for dynamic websites.
  • Canonical Plugins for CMS: Content Management Systems (CMS) often offer plugins or built-in features to simplify canonical tag implementation. Utilize these tools for efficiency.

4. Set Preferred Domains

Choose and establish a consistent preference for your protocol and domain structure:

  • WWW vs. non-WWW: Make a server configuration decision based on whether you wish to use “www” on your website. Make sure this decision is reflected in canonical tags and redirects.
  • HTTP vs HTTPS: Convert your website to HTTPS if you haven’t already for better SEO and security. To indicate the desired secure version, use canonicalization.

5. URL Parameter Handling

Implement best practices for handling URL parameters, especially if they generate multiple versions of the same page:

Best Practices for Handling Parameters: Use tools like Google’s Search Console to specify how search engines should treat URL parameters. Employ techniques like “noindex,” “nofollow,” or “canonical” to consolidate duplicate content.

6. Test and Monitor

Canonicalization is an ongoing process. Regularly assess your efforts and be vigilant for new issues:

Regularly Monitor Website for New Issues: Use webmaster consoles and SEO auditing tools to monitor your website closely. To preserve your SEO performance, be ready to respond quickly to newly discovered canonical issues.

❖    Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Misusing Canonical Tags

When appropriately used, canonical tags can help address duplicate content problems. Avoid the following common errors:

  • Inaccurate URL Specification: Ensure that the canonical URL you provide is accurate. If you use the correct URL, search engines may index your content correctly.
  • Self-Referencing Canonicals: Avoid using a canonical tag that points to the same URL it’s placed on. It is unnecessary and needs to be clarified for search engines.
  • Cross-site Canonicals: Avoid pointing to content on one site using canonical tags. Only tags that are canonical within the same domain should be utilised.
  • Inconsistent Usage: Ensure the consistent use of canonical tags. When used seldom or inconsistently, duplicate content problems may need to be fully resolved.

2. Ignoring Parameter Handling

Multiple versions of the same content may be produced by URL parameters, leading to canonical confusion. SEO issues may arise if parameter management is neglected:

  • Variations of URLs with parameters: If URL parameters are not addressed, there may be several URLs for the same content. With tools like Google Search Console, you may specify how search engines should handle parameters.
  • Noindex or Nofollow: To stop search engines from indexing or following these pages, consider using the “noindex” or “nofollow” directives if specific parameters result in duplicate content.
  • Canonicalizing Parameter URLs: Although this should be done carefully and with a clear grasp of the consequences, there are situations in which utilising canonical tags on parameterized URLs might help combine ranking signals.

3. Neglecting HTTPS Migration

With the growing importance of security and user trust, neglecting the migration to HTTPS can harm your website’s SEO:

  • Security Concerns: If your website doesn’t use HTTPS, browsers may mark it as insecure, reducing user interest and confidence.
  • Impact on SEO Ranking: Search engines frequently prefer safe websites over unsafe ones. Lower visibility and ranking can come from ignoring HTTPS migration.
  • Mixed Content Issues: A website using HTTP and HTTPS components might cause diverse content problems that negatively impact SEO and user experience.

Ensure that all internal and external links and resources are secure and that your website has switched to HTTPS to prevent these mistakes.

  • Best Practices for Canonicalization

Incorporating these best practices in canonicalization helps search engines correctly index your content, improves user experience, and supports successful international SEO strategies.

  • Using Self-Referential Canonical Tags: Using self-referential canonical tags is a crucial best practice in canonicalization. The URL these tags place on should be their point of reference. This technique guarantees clarity by making it apparent to search engines what version of a page is preferred. It also serves as a defence against tag implementation mistakes, lowering the possibility of misdirecting important content.
  • Properly Handling Mobile Versions: Managing your website’s mobile versions appropriately is essential in the mobile-first world we live in today. Ensure your pages’ canonical tags are the same on desktop and mobile devices. Regardless of the user’s device, the canonical tag should direct users to the desktop version if the content is the same. However, canonical tags should consider this disparity when there is distinct desktop and mobile content.
  • International SEO Considerations: International SEO considerations are essential for websites that cater to a global audience. To tell search engines which version of a page is meant for a certain country or language, use hreflang and canonical tags. Ensure that the hreflang tags for each language or area correspond to the canonical URL. Maintaining uniformity in your domain hierarchy is essential for maximising global search engine optimization and serving relevant information to users across different locations.

echoVME Digital: Your Trusted Partner for Superior SEO Solutions and Beyond

At echoVME Digital, we take pride in being Chennai’s leading digital marketing agency. Our commitment to excellence extends to addressing critical SEO issues like canonicalization. Our experts understand the importance of canonical tags, mobile optimization, and international SEO considerations to boost your online presence and enhance your brand’s visibility. Contact us today, and let us optimize your online presence for success.

Wrapping Up

In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, canonicalization issues can be formidable obstacles. As your go-to digital marketing company in Chennai, echoVME Digital is prepared to support you as you overcome these obstacles. With our proficiency in mobile optimization, international SEO, and canonicalization, we can improve your online visibility and provide outcomes. Contact us today, and let us embark on a journey to digital success together.


1. What are canonical tags?

Canonical tags are HTML elements used to indicate the preferred version of a webpage when multiple versions with similar content exist.

2. Why is mobile optimization important for SEO?

Mobile optimization is crucial because search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites, and a significant portion of web traffic comes from mobile devices.

3. What makes echoVME Digital the best digital marketing agency in Chennai?

echoVME Digital offers a comprehensive range of digital marketing services, including canonicalization expertise, to enhance your online presence and drive measurable results for your business in Chennai and beyond.


Sorav Jain

Sorav Jain is one of the leading and top-notch digital marketing influencers who kickstarted his career as an SEO specialist and became the driving force behind establishing echoVme Digital, one of the top digital marketing agencies in Chennai. At echoVme Digital, Sorav Jain works closely with his team of top-notch professionals with expertise in several domains of digital marketing, bringing the best ideas to the table with several years of experience. He founded Digital Scholar in 2019, an educational institute that offers top-notch digital marketing training for several enthusiasts

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