Magento Tutorials

Why and How to add Canonical URL Magento instead of 301s or 302s?

Dealing with duplicate contents on your website often means making a choice among 301s, 302s or Canonical URLs in Magento. In this article, I’ll help you to debunk all the common myths and in the end, you’ll be able to decide which option suits you the best!

1. Why should I be careful of duplicate contents?

Having a very same content on many different web pages is a very common problem that you have to encounter when going about your daily business. It happens when one day, you decide to add a product under several relevant categories or to talk about similar topics on more than two pages. All of this is just supposed to help your customers to have a better understanding of your products, but it’s harmful to your Page rank. Precisely, Google bots will consider duplicate pages as low-quality pages and rank them very badly – which simply leads your website to lose all its competitive ranking ability. 

2. Choosing the best way to solve the problem of duplicate contents

Now after scouring all the corners of the Internet in search of solutions, you’ll get to make a choice among the three options: 301s, 302s redirect or Canonical URLs. But which one suits you the best? First thing first, let’s take a closer look at each one of them.

301s (as known as permanent redirect) should be used when you want to move your customers and also Google bots to the new home. Applying 301s will send visitors and also all the link juices to the new page. 

302s (or temporary redirect) is slightly different than the preceding. Suppose that on some kind of special occasions, you want to take your customers to this other page just for a couple of days (whether it’s a promoting campaign or for the process of rearranging contents). Google bots will understand this as an ephemeral moving and keep all the ranking signals to the old page.

Last but not least, we have Canonical URLs. It is considered to be the most commonly used among these three. The thing that makes Canonical different is that it’s only for bots, not for your customers. People will stay on your old page while bots are told to consider the other page (the canonical one) as the main page and that’s also the page to rank. This solution is proved to be very helpful when you want to simplify the tracking for a product or to consolidate duplicate page ranking to your preferred URL. Moreover, using this tag will help you to improve your Site ranking by concentrating page views.

Getting a little dizzy in distinguishing the three terms?

Bottom line is: 301s takes both bots and people to the new home; 302s makes the bots stay where they are but send people to the other page and finally, Canonical tag keeps people to stay but send bots to index the new page. 

3. How to add Canonical URLs to Magento CMS pages

Giving a thought on these three, you would now properly go along with Canonical URLs because of its efficiency and advantageous benefits. Here’s how you can add yourself Canonical tags in Magento.

  • First, log in to your Magento account and click on System menu -> Configuration

Canonical URLS Magento

  • Now you’re on the Configuration page, select the Seo settings on the left and Enable it by selecting Yes.
  • Then finishing this step by adding your Page redirect and Pages that you want to manually add a Canonical tag on.
  • You’re good to go from now. Going to the page that you want to add Canonical tags, then choose Custom Design Tab. 

Canonical URLS Magento

  • In the Custom Design box, paste the code below and select the page you want Google to rank by adding it in the code.
<reference name="head">
 <action method="addLinkRel">
 <rel>canonical</rel>
 <href>http://your_website_comes_here.html</href>
 </action>
 </reference>

Almost finish, double-check if the code is correct and click Save! 

Manually adding Canonical tags to every single page may seem a lot of work to do, so I hope this tutorial is worthy of the organic ranking performance of your website. 

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