During Google’s last webmaster office hours, it was revealed that the use of self-referencing canonicals on web pages is a best practice, according to The SEM Post.
This information will be helpful to many SEO marketers as there is a lack of consistency amongst these professionals in how they use self-referencing canonicals on all web pages. Some SEOs always include these self-references, while others only use them when it is required, like in the example of similar or duplicate content.
The question was posed to determine if Google found it necessary to use these self-referencing canonicals even in instances where there was no duplication. Google’s response indicated their preference towards this self-reference, as it makes it extremely transparent which page a web page owner wants to index. In addition to providing clarity, it also clears up which URL should be used when indexed.
Even when you have only one page with no duplicates, there can be multiple variations of which URL will serve as an indicator for a given page. Issues that can cause confusion include lowercase versus uppercase, or non-www and www versions of a site. All of these potential variations can eliminate confusion simply by using a rel canonical tag.
However, it’s considered bad SEO to have different live versions of a URL (i.e. having non-www or http and https)– one version should always redirect to the other with a 301 redirect.
These self-referencing canonicals quickly indicate where the original content came from without wasting time. When content is reused or copied, the self-referencing canonical can remain on the original piece, helping Google (and others looking at a page’s source code) to quickly determine the original content URL.
Looking to hear straight from Google? Go ahead and view the latest office hours hosted on YouTube.
Wondering if your WordPress SEO plugin is already doing this for you? Have no idea how to create a self-referencing canonical tag? Let Hall Analysis help you make the most of your online content.
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