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Recently we have noticed that a number of our customers have received phone calls from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) experts who are selling the idea that there is a canonical URL issue with their web site and this is seriously affecting their site SEO. While we accept that this is an issue that should be addresses we would take issue with the contention that it will seriously impact on your site SEO.

Canonical URLs Background

According to Matt Cutts, the current head of Google’s Webspam team, canonicalization is the term used at Google to describe the process of picking the best url when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. The problem from a Search Engine Indexing perspective is that quite often one page can be reached via several web page addresses. On many web sites the following addresses will all take you to the site opening page:

  • www.domainname.com
  • domainname.com
  • www.domainname.com/index.html
  • domainname.com/index.html

Resolving Issues with Canonical URLs

The best way to solve this issue according to the Google Webmaster Blog article on canonical URLs is to add an HTML link tag to the head section of your site opening page. In the example shown above we would simply add the following link to our site homepage between the <HEAD> tags:
[code] [/code]

This would tell the search engine how we want this URL to be listed in the search results no matter how they have reached that address in the first place. Crucially Google states that “Additional URL properties, like PageRank and related signals, are transferred as well” so the page should list better for this addition.

At Purpose Media we like to stay abreast of every development with the search engine indexing algorithms so that you don’t have to. You can relax and be confident that your web site, designed by Purpose Media, will satisfy all of these SEO requirements.