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A canonical URL lets you tell search engines that certain similar URLs are actually the same. Sometimes you have products or content that can be found on multiple URLs — or even multiple websites, but by using canonical URLs (HTML link tags with the attribute rel=canonical), you can have these on your site without harming your rankings.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading #4 of our best-read posts this year! Find out all about canonical URLs: what are they and how and when should you set them. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another holiday countdown surprise!

The rel=canonical element, often called the “canonical link”, is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues. It does this by specifying the “canonical URL”, the “preferred” version of a web page – the original source, even. Using it well improves a site’s SEO.

The idea is simple: if you have several similar versions of the same content, you pick one “canonical” version and point the search engines at it. This solves the duplicate content problem where search engines don’t know which version of the content to show in their results. This article takes you through how and when to use them, and how…

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