Understanding Canonical

What is Canonical?

It is defined as: ‘Code of laws enforced in a hierarchy’ and allows a website to communicate to search engines which pages the website owner considers to be more important than other similar pages.

In ecommerce terms it is a page that you:

  • Want to appear in search results
  • Want your visitors to see

Faceted Navigation

This is a fancy term for the way in which product data is listed and categorized in online stores.

Correctly handling faceted navigation is a challenge that has to be tackled and proper execution is a vital task for any ecommerce site. Evaluate your site now to make sure that you are:

  • Specifying a master page
  • Boosting product search results by preserving and guiding the flow of page authority
  • Avoiding duplicate content draining rankings (See duplicate penalty)
  • Stopping ‘ugly’ URLs from being indexed

Why You Need to Understand Canonical

Recent survey of US ecommerce sites showed that:

  • 25% implemented in damaging ways
  • 50% used improperly

It is hard to understand how your navigation appears to a web crawler, because there so many duplicate pages are created by categories and filters. For example you may have the same product listed: 

  • In multiple categories
  • By various filters such as price and color
  • Paged result sets
  • Linked from promotional pages

Check Your Canonicals!

Are you:

  • Using a single URL – www,non-www,HTTP, HTTPS
  • Specifying a master page for any parameterized pages

  e.g. category page/?color=red

  • Redirecting properly?
  • Handling: Sort Orders, Filters and Pagination

Duplicate Content Penalties

Of course, all this talk about duplicate pages brings up the old Duplicate Content Penalty, something which we all hear about so often in the web business.

Simply, there is no such thing! 

But the cost of having duplicate pages is REAL - your duplicate product pages get to share the link value and as a result sink out of the search result listings.

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