Canonical tags help prevent this confusion by telling search engines which version of a URL is the preferred version. This is particularly important when you have multiple versions of the same content on your website, such as when you have different URLs that display the same content.
For example, let’s say you have a law firm website with a blog post that has multiple URLs. The original URL is “www.example.com/blog/post1,” but it’s also accessible through “www.example.com/post1” and “www.example.com/blog/post1/?utm_source=google”. Without a canonical tag, search engines might see these as separate pages with duplicate content, which can lead to lower search engine rankings.
By using a canonical tag, you can tell search engines which URL is the preferred version of the page. In this case, you would add the canonical tag to the “www.example.com/blog/post1” URL, indicating that this is the original and preferred version of the content.
Canonical tags can also help with crawling and indexing by ensuring that search engines only index the preferred version of a page. This can save crawl budget and improve your website’s overall search engine optimization.
To use canonical tags effectively, it’s important to follow SEO best practices and ensure that you’re using them correctly. Incorrect use of canonical tags can cause more harm than good to your website’s search engine rankings.