A Canonical URL refers to the process of selecting the best URL when there are several choices available. It's a way to prevent duplicate content issues in SEO by specifying the 'canonical' or 'preferred' version of a web page. Search engines understand that these duplicate pages aren't intentional and pick the canonical URL as the authoritative one.
Canonical URLs are used in situations where similar or identical content is accessible through multiple URLs. This can occur due to session IDs, URL parameters, or even different domain names pointing to the same content. By using a canonical URL, you are informing search engines which version of the pages they should index and rank.
The main purpose of a canonical URL is to solve duplicate content issues. By specifying a canonical URL, you can ensure that search engines understand which version of your content is the authoritative one.
A canonical URL can significantly improve your SEO by preventing search engines from indexing duplicate content. This can improve the ranking of your website.
Some related software that can help with setting up and managing canonical URLs include Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and Rank Math SEO.
There are several benefits of using canonical URLs. Firstly, they help prevent duplicate content issues, which can damage your site's SEO. Secondly, they help to consolidate ranking signals, which can improve the ranking of your website. Finally, they can help to simplify tracking metrics, as data will not be split between multiple URLs.
In conclusion, a canonical URL is an essential tool in the toolbox of any SEO professional. It helps to prevent duplicate content issues, improve your site's SEO, and streamline your tracking metrics.