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Consolidate duplicate URLs with Canonical tag – Lil Assistance

Consolidate duplicate URLs with Canonical tag

by | Sep 17, 2022

🎯 What’s the goal?
Make sure Google Index each page as unique and avoid Duplicate Content.
⚠️ Why does it matter?
It is not good from an SEO-perspective if Google has to index more than one version of the same page. Search engines will have difficulties while crawling your website.
🏁 What’s the result?
Google doesn’t index more than one URL for the same Landing Page.
⌚ When do you do this?
As soon as you put your website online and then on a regular basis.
βœ… Any special requirements?
πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈWho should do it?
Pearson in charge of managing your website.

πŸ‘‰ Where this is done: Using the ScreamingFrog or Sitebulb apps to spot the potential issues. And also with Yoast-SEO Plugin for WordPress to easily fix this in your blog.

⏳ How long will this take? about 20 minutes

Let’s hunt for β€œDuplicate” URL & Content and fix
with the proper use of Canonical tag

Environment setup:

  • ScreamingFrog software installed on your computer.
  • Sitebulb software installed on your computer.
  • Yoast-SEO Plugin installed on your website (If you are using WordPress).
  • We recommend that you use Google Chrome browser to navigate the web.

Checking your URLs Canonical tag manually

  • Open your website in the browser.
  • Right-click on any free space of your page and select β€œView page source”.
  • You will be redirected to the page that will show you the source code of your website.
  • Press β€œCtrl + F” on your keyboard. A search box will appear.
  • Type in β€œcanonical” within the search box.
  • β€œCanonical” will highlight in the source code and your canonicalised URL will be next to it.

If you don’t see this tag in the source code of your page, then please follow the instructions of this SOP to automatically add Canonical on WordPress website using Yoast SEO Plug-In.

If you’re not using WordPress and have this issue, then you have to discuss that with your webmaster to make sure he addresses this problem.

Adding Canonicals with Yoast SEO-Plugin

If you have Yoast-SEO Plugin installed on your WordPress site it will automatically add canonical URLs for all content that has been marked for indexing by search engines. You can easily check for those canonical URLs using the method provided in the previous part of this SOP. 

If for some reason, you want to change the canonical URL settings, you can check the post related to this topic on the official Yoast Website here.

If you are not using Yoast-SEO Plugin, then you will have to run your website using SiteBulb or ScreamingFrog, to check if some of the pages might not have the canonical tag. 

If this is the case, proceed to the next part of this SOP.

Checking your URLs with ScreamingFrog

Installing ScreamingFrog software

  • The website should automatically detect what operating system you are using. In our case this is Windows OS. Click on β€œDownload now”. If for some reason you use a different operating system than detected, select it by clicking on β€œUsing a different operating system?” below.
  • ScreamingFrog software will start to download.
  • After downloading, click on software you just downloaded.
  • Choose β€œDefault” and press on β€œInstall”.
  • When you see β€œCompleted”, you can click on β€œClose”.

Checking your URLs redirects and canonicals

  • Open β€œScreamingFrog SEO Spider” software.
  • Wait for it to open.
  • β€œAccept” End User Licence Agreement.
  • Make sure that required settings are enabled by clicking on β€œConfiguration” then on β€œSpider”.
  • Make sure that β€œCrawl” and β€œStore” boxes are checked next to the β€œCanonical” option in the β€œCrawl” tab. (If you are using the free version it will be automatically checked and any selection will be prohibited like in our case, for paid user all options can be adjusted).
  • Exit setting and enter your website URL.
  • Click on β€œStart”.
  • Wait for the software to crawl your website.
  • After that, you will be presented with a table of your URLs.
  • Choose the β€œCanonicals” tab.
  • By doing this you will be able to check all canonicals URLs from your site.
  • From the right-hand overview you will be able to get more specific information about canonicalised URLs with additional filters.

For additional information about all the filters and how to create reports if any needed for adding canonical URLs, you should check ScreamingFrog article.

Checking your URLs with Sitebulb software

Installing Sitebulb software

  • Go to the Sitebulb website.
  • Click on the β€œTry Sitebulb for Free” button.
  • Choose β€œDownload for Windows” or β€œDownload for Mac” depending on your OS.
  • β€œSitebulb.exe” software will start to download.
  • Double click on β€œSitebulb.exe” after downloading to start software installation.
  • Click on β€œNext”.
  • Choose a directory for your software installation and press on β€œNext”.
  • Click on β€œInstall”.
  • Wait for the installation to finish.
  • And then click on β€œFinish”.
  • Now open installed Sitebulb software.
  • Now you must β€œCreate a new free account”. You have to type in your β€œFirst Name” (1), β€œLast Name” (2), β€œEmail” (3) and also check the box next to the EULA agreement (4).
  • After you fill in with your data, click on β€œRegister”.
  • Now you have to verify your account. As the message below says.
  • You should find β€œWelcome to Sitebulb!” email in your mailbox. Open it.
  • Then click on β€œConfirm Your Account”.
  • Now you have to pick a β€œPassword” and set three security questions.
  • After that, click on β€œConfirm & Create Password”.
  • You will be granted with β€œThanks for signing up” message.
  •  Now you can go back to Sutebulb software.

Checking your URLs Redirects and canonicals

  • Go back to Sitebulb software, now you can β€œSign In” with your newly created credentials.
  • Click on β€œStart Free Trial”
  • After a short introduction click on β€œNew Project” in the upper left corner.
  • Star a new project by entering its β€œProject Name”.
  • Then enter your website URL into the β€œStart URL” box. (Remember to choose http:// or https:// accordingly).
  • Check β€œForms authentication required” box if your website requires signing in in order to access the content.
  • Click on β€œSave and Continue”.
  • Wait for Sitebulb to prepare your audit settings.
  • After that, you should set β€œAudit Type” and β€œCrawler Type” as below. (It should be set that way automatically but check it before proceeding).
  • You can add some additional data for your audit but for the purpose of this SOP and its topic we will stay with β€œPage Resources” as it is all what you need.
  • Check the box next to the β€œCrawl Website” under β€œSelect URLs sources to Audit” section.
  • Click on β€œStart Now”.
  • Then wait for the audit to complete.
  • After completion, choose β€œURL Explorer” on the upper bar.
  • There you will find a table with all of the crawled URLs.
  • Now you have to look at similar URLs and check if they are successfully redirected. (You can see that in the column on the right side of an URL like on the screenshot below).
  • To make your search easier you can sort results by clicking on β€œIndexable Status” in the first row of the table and then selecting β€œSort Ascending”. Then you can check all β€œRedirect” and β€œCanonical” status URLs.

This is what you are looking for:

If during your audit you find that a canonical URL redirects to another canonical URL you should check the Sitebulb article devoted to that issue here.

Adding a canonical tag to an URL

If you find out during an audit that your site is missing some canonicals you should contact your developer to add them as fast as possible for maximizing Google ranking potential for your website. 

If you want some more insight on canonical URLs – how they should look from SEO-perspective, you should read the article: β€œCanonicals – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”.

Now you know how to check if your URLs have implemented correctly the Canonical TAG you can easily diagnose any future problems with your pages!

Keep all your URLs in good shape!

Consolidate duplicate URLs with Canonical tag

🎯 What’s the goal?Make sure Google Index each page as unique and avoid Duplicate Content. ⚠️ Why does it matter?It is not good from an SEO-perspective if Google has to index more than one version of the same page. Search engines will have difficulties while crawling your website. 🏁 What’s the result?Google doesn’t index more […]
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