A canonical tag can be used to indicate which page you’d like a search engine (e.g. Google) to index when you have multiple pages with very similar/identical content on your website.
For example, if the two pages below have very similar content, and you’d prefer that the first page appears in search engine results, you could add this canonical tag code to the second page.
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.mysite.com/shoes" />
A page with a ‘canonical’ tag pointing to another page is often referred to as a ‘non-canonical’ page.
So, what will change within Siteimprove SEO?
In the Siteimprove platform we check all pages on a user's website, regardless of whether a given page has a canonical version or not.
This is valuable with regards to the quality and accessibility of all website content. It’s also an advantage to be able to use policies to ensure consistency and compliance across your entire website.
However, when it comes to SEO, it is not necessary for Siteimprove to provide results and SEO advice for pages that are not intended or expected to be indexed by search engines.
From now on, we will not flag issues on non-canonical pages in Siteimprove SEO by default. However, we provide a filter on the Issues and Recommendations page within SEO so you can view issues on non-conical pages if required.
Also, for customers with SEO Advanced, Target pages that are found to be non-canonical will be flagged to indicate that a canonical version of the page is specified in the conical tag.
How will these changes be seen within the platform?
Focusing on the ‘canonical’ rather than the ‘non-canonical’ pages will have the following effect the information provided:
- The total number of pages shown in SEO will decrease.
- The number of pages with specific issues will decrease.
- The SEO Page report will indicate if you are viewing the report for a page which has a canonical tag referring to another page.
- Users will most likely see an improvement in their SEO Score.
- An icon will be shown to indicate when ‘non-canonical’ pages are selected as Target Pages in SEO Advanced.
- Users will notice a decrease of occurrences within the SEO historical graph.