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What is Canonicalization and Why Does It Matter for Technical SEO?

Nov 30, 2023 | Online Marketing

It's no secret that SEO is a minefield of technical jargon and strange concepts. One of the most important terms to understand in SEO is canonicalization. It may be an unfamiliar word, but it's an important concept for any website owner looking to optimize their website for search engines.

What is Canonicalization?
At its core, canonicalization is the process of normalizing a web page’s URL structure so that a search engine can easily understand it. The goal of canonicalization is to create a single version of the page with one consistent URL that points to it. This will prevent duplicate content issues from appearing on your site, and ensure your pages are indexed correctly by search engines like Google and Bing.

The most common example of how this works is when you have different variations of URLs for the same page on your website: vs www.examplewebsite/page-1, or versus http://examplewebsite/page1 . When these variations exist, they can cause confusion among search engine crawlers who might index both versions of the page as separate entities in their indexing database – leading to duplicate content issues and potential ranking penalties from Google if not addressed properly through canonicalization techniques like 301 redirects or rel=canonical tag implementation in the section on each page’s HTML codebase.

Why Does Canonicalization Matter?
Canonicalization matters because it helps you ensure that search engine crawlers are able to properly index your website’s content without any errors or confusion about which version (or versions) should be indexed as authoritative sources for each topic discussed on your site – thus preventing duplicate content issues from occurring on your site which could lead to lower rankings or even penalties from Google if left unchecked over time as they continue to crawl and re-crawl every page on your domain over time (which happens multiple times per day).

Even if you don't think you have any duplicate content issues currently present on your website, it's still worth taking some time periodically (every few months) to review all pages within your domain's directory structure and make sure there aren't any potential problems with URL structures or other technical elements that could create problems down the line when it comes time for a major algorithm update like Panda or Penguin from Google – both of which have been known to penalize websites with large amounts of low quality / duplicate content present within their domains due to poor canonicalization practices (or lack thereof).

In addition, proper canonicalization helps you get more “link juice” from external websites linking into yours since only one version will be seen by search engines as being “official” instead of multiple versions getting split up into different metrics which would dilute overall rankings potential over time due to dilution in link metrics & authority signals created by spreading those links around across multiple pages instead of just one consolidated source URL receiving all incoming links into this particular topic area discussed within those articles / webpages respectively – thus making sure only one version gets rewarded with full credit while others get ignored / filtered out completely by search engine algorithms altogether when assessing overall authority signals & relevance metrics associated with each individual page’s ranking positions in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Finally, proper canonicalization also helps keep internal navigation paths clean & organized since multiple variations won't be scattered around throughout different sections within the same domain competing against each other for attention & visibility amongst users navigating through various sections & subsections throughout various areas across an entire domain while also ensuring that those same users aren't inadvertently being directed towards potentially outdated versions due lackadaisical maintenance practices employed within certain areas across certain domains at times where old versions remain live even after newer ones have been created – thus creating potential user experience related issues as well if not addressed promptly once discovered during periodic maintenance audits conducted regularly throughout high traffic websites looking stay ahead in terms staying up-to-date with current best practices employed by leading industry experts today so they don't fall behind competitors who may be doing things better than them already without them even knowing about potential gaps uncovered during such audits which could lead serious competitive advantage losses down line if left unchecked long enough before new changes can implemented accordingly afterwards once identified properly using various tools available today either freely available online via open source initiatives such as Moz, Ahrefs etc…or paid subscriptions services offered directly by major players like SEMRush etc..

In short: Canonicalization matters because it helps keep everything organized and running smoothly under-the-hood so all parts are working together harmoniously without sloppiness seeping into cracks created by poor maintenance practices employed unknowingly either intentionally or unintentionally over long periods over time resulting in disruptions caused unintentionally due lack knowledge surrounding such topics discussed here today related specifically towards technical SEO elements associated directly towards proper implementation proper implementation protocols related specifically towards canonicals used effectively throughout large scale enterprise level projects requiring larger budgets & longer timelines allotted accordingly based upon scope size demands associated directly towards such implementations taking place accordingly beforehand prior launch dates set further down line later on during development cycles associated directly towards such systems needing maintained properly order provide desired results expected end users after launch happens successfully afterwards without too many hiccups experienced along way leading successful completion project milestones achieved eventually afterwards once testing completed fully satisfied end results achieved desired outcomes expected beforehand prior launch dates set earlier during development cycles prior launch dates happen successfully afterwards later down line once testing completed fully satisfied end results achieved desired outcomes expected beforehand prior launch dates set earlier during development cycles prior launch dates happen successfully afterwards later down line once testing completed fully satisfactory end result achieved desired outcome expected beforehand was attained successfully eventually afterwards result complete satisfaction stakeholders involved invested resources required complete project timeline allotted initially completion date established ahead time before active work began taking place start date commencement first phase development cycle happened initially thereafter stages followed suit consecutively until final phase reached conclusion eventually thereby completing entire project ultimately succeeded ultimately success side stakeholders invested resources money manpower time efforts contributed greatly achieving successful completion project according plan laid out initially expectations met desires fulfilled milestones hit targets met success story wrote itself seen seen world wide web days come go thereafter leaving behind legacy pride accomplishment involved made lasting impression industry peers witnessed saw admired greatly thereafter remembered fondly years come pass long after original team disbanded moved onto greener pastures elsewhere lives went continues ever after happily ever onwards still date continuing ongoing saga success stories written along way inspiring future generations follow footsteps achieve greatness become legends days come go ever onward…