Today at SMX West, the three big search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft) announced a new tag to help reduce duplicate content on the web.
This new tool is called the “canonical tag”. If you’ve spent some time learning about SEO before, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term. Canonical refers to a page that has more than one URL. For example, the www and non-www versions of your web site are considered different sites. Google has had a tool through Webmaster Tools for some time to help with this, but the announcement of this new tag comes from all three search engines meaning that they *should* all obey it.
How does it work?
Simply enter the canonical tag within the head section of your web page. Within the tag, you can declare the URL that should be indexed and crawled. This will tell the crawlers that any other page with the exact or very similar content should not be indexed and link juice should instead be passed onto the declared URL.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.lyndseo.com/2009/02/duplicate-content-no-more”/>
- Works on domains and subdomains
- Does not work across domains
- Relative URLs are okay, but absolute URLs are better
This is really exciting news… I only wish I had this information a month ago!