How To Set the Canonical URL for a Post or Page in WordPress

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How To Set the Canonical URL for a Post or Page in WordPress

Define the “Original Source” To Protect SEO
Using the Canonical Setting

When ever we utilize a piece of duplicate content – whether on our own site or cross-site – its important to consider what we tell Google about that piece.

If you are reblogging a piece of content, the canonical field is the “SEO correct” way to tell Google that the original lists “over there”.

Depending on what you are doing this may or may not replace the need to include an in post dofollow link.

The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (which replaces the older AIO, Platinum and Headspace SEO plugins) makes this super simple.

Simply fill in the Canonical URl field with the URL link to the original copy of the post (regardless of whether it is on your site or someone elses).  Piece of cake!

When republishing the same piece on your own site over and over – such as with a monthly webinar announcement – it’s actually better to also use the “noindex” setting in addition. That tells Google to essentially skip over the piece and in that way only “see” the original in the SERPs.

Sometimes the announcements, schedules, etc that we publish routinely are for our readers… and very confusing to Google. Using canonical and (where appropriate) noindex will help Google understand.

There are other important uses for canonical at a site-wide level, however hopefully this post makes it easy for you to to understand the in-post settings and why they matter.

Canonical, with or without noindex, is your friend in minimizing duplicate content problems (some of which are inherent to WordPress and other CMS systems).

~ Kimberly Castleberry ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing

 

image source: me

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Comments

  1. says

    Currently im using 303 to redirect all 404 pages, btw how much time google takes to deindex those 303 redirected pages ?. does WordPress themes 404 page sends 404 status or just page not found messages ?

  2. says

    Hi Kim
    Thanks for the information. Just to clarify, whenever I am posting another person’s article I have to go into YOAST each time to put in the canonical url?

    • says

      Anne, if you are republishing complete articles without framing them in paragraphs of text you have wrote (which still requires citation), then using canonical would be the correct answer.
      Kim

  3. says

    Hi Kim

    Wow that was quick thank you for your reply! I don’t do this often and have always cited the source so it is good to know better to use the canonical url in YOAST. I am launching a new travel website and will most probably use a lot more cited information on that one.
    Anne

    • says

      Hey Anne, I would use the canonical in addition to citing rather than as a replacement for it. The reason for this is that your reader can not see the canonical (it’s only for Google) and citing would be needed to ensure you don’t create something that “looks” (to the reader) like plagiarism. You’re definitely on the right track!

  4. says

    Thanks for this useful guide. Rel Canonical is one of the things that SEOmoz said could be brought up at a job interview for an seo position. I bet mentioning Yoast will get you an advantage over other applicants.

  5. says

    This is marvelous! I didn’t know these tricks about duplicate content. Everybody said “pay attention when you quote” and stuff like that, but now that I’ve read your article I’m not afraid of being penalized in Google SERP :D

    • says

      I agree, Elena, most people do not understand the mechanics of how to be clear with Google about what you are doing. Fair use laws, give us a nice liberty to do quotations (by citing our source, like when we wrote papers in school), “content originality” which is 30% uniqueness handles the “framing” aspect, and for full duplication canonical lets Google know what’s up. That’s really a remarkable amount of flexibility when you think about it :)
      Kim

      • says

        You couldn’t explain it better, Kim! :) And the key word is “flexibility” – everyone wants it. Thanks for additional explanation.

  6. says

    This is great you really do need to know how to share things in a way that makes everybody happy. For everybody to be happy you must play by Google rules because if Google isn’t happy who is!

  7. says

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for sharing these interesting tips. I agree that Google doesn’t like duplicate content and we need to respect it. Can it harm my rankings if I post duplicate articles from time to time?

  8. says

    Do you suggest to use canonical url if I quote one or two paragraph from somebody’s post into my article? And what if there are a number of citations? Looking forward for your insight.

  9. says

    Ok you got me again in just a minute.
    I read the other article about reblogging and the article sharing idea you had and then searched for “How To Set the Canonical URL for a Post or Page in WordPress”…
    Guess what..
    Your site came up…
    Thank you!

  10. says

    wow, awesome! I won’t do it but curious to know that what will happen stealing the content of other sites and point on them with canonical links?

  11. says

    I have to admit that I never knew what Thesis was referring to with the canonical url. Since I do want to cross post across websites once in a while (but have avoiding doing so because of fear of Google), this is perfect for me!

    Thanks again, Kim!

  12. Jimmy says

    I am going to start a new blog soon, but before i setup everything, i want to know which is the best seo plugin All in one SEO or Yoast ? And how to setup canonical url issue before i get penalize?

    Hope i will get some good suggestion from you

    Thanks

    • says

      Jimmy, you want to use WP SEO by Yoast rather than the older AIO SEO. Then once you’re using it just follow the directions in this post to set up canonical URLs.
      Kim

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