Does Google Only Recognize Canonical Versions Of Backlinks


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Does Google Only Recognize Canonical Versions Of Backlinks? In the mysterious realm of search engine optimization, let’s unravel this puzzling question. 

Brace yourself for the answer, sprinkled with whimsical anecdotes and insights into Google’s algorithm secrets. 

Ready for a backlinking adventure? Let’s dive in! (Short answer: Not necessarily, but there’s more to it—keep reading!)

What Is a Canonical URL?

A canonical URL is the preferred version of a webpage that search engines should index and display in search results. 

It helps prevent duplicate content issues that may arise due to multiple URLs leading to the same content. 

By specifying a canonical URL, webmasters can signal to search engines which version of a webpage they consider the most relevant and authoritative.

Why Use Canonical Tags?

Canonical tags are essential for several reasons. Firstly, they help consolidate the ranking power of backlinks by consolidating them to a single preferred URL. 

Secondly, they prevent duplicate content issues, which can dilute the visibility and authority of a webpage. 

By guiding search engines towards the canonical URL, webmasters can ensure that the desired version of their content is indexed and displayed in search results.

Related Article: Should You Fix Backlinks Once You Move To HTTPS

How to Implement Canonical Tags

The implementation of canonical tags varies depending on the content management system (CMS) used. 

Let’s take a look at how canonical tags can be implemented in popular CMS platforms:

Magento 1

In Magento 1, you can add canonical tags to different types of pages:

Product Page Canonicals

To add canonical tags to product pages, navigate to the product edit page and find the “URL Key” field. 

Enter the desired canonical URL in this field, and Magento will automatically generate the canonical tag for that page.

Category Canonicals

For category pages, go to the category edit page and find the “URL Key” field. 

Enter the preferred canonical URL, and Magento will include the canonical tag accordingly.

Magento 2

In Magento 2, the process is similar. When editing a product or category, locate the “Canonical URL” field and provide the desired canonical URL.


WordPress offers several SEO plugins that make it easier to implement canonical tags. Here are two popular options:

Yoast SEO Plugin

With the Yoast SEO plugin, you can add canonical tags by navigating to the “Advanced” tab in the Yoast SEO meta box, which appears when editing a post or page. 

Enter the canonical URL in the provided field, and Yoast SEO will handle the rest.

Rank Math SEO Plugin

The Rank Math SEO plugin offers a similar approach. When editing a post or page, scroll down to the “Advanced” section and locate the “Canonical URL” field. 

Input the preferred canonical URL, and Rank Math SEO will generate the canonical tag.

Does Google Only Recognize Canonical Versions Of Backlinks?

The question arises: does Google only recognize canonical versions of backlinks? 

While Google acknowledges canonical tags and their significance in determining the preferred version of a webpage, it doesn’t mean that it completely ignores other backlinks. 

Google takes a holistic approach to evaluate a website’s authority and considers various factors, including both canonical and non-canonical backlinks.

Canonical tags primarily help consolidate the ranking power of backlinks to a single URL. 

Related Article: How To Get Backlinks Indexed FAST [2023]

However, Google’s algorithms also analyze non-canonical backlinks and take them into account when assessing a website’s authority and relevance. 

Non-canonical backlinks can still contribute to a website’s overall link profile and influence its rankings.

Canonical Tags: SEO Best Practices

To optimize the use of canonical tags, here are some best practices to follow:

Only Specify One Canonical URL Per Page

It’s crucial to designate only one canonical URL for each webpage. 

This ensures that search engines focus on indexing and ranking the preferred version, preventing confusion and potential duplicate content issues.

Specify the Correct Domain Protocol

When specifying a canonical URL, make sure to use the correct domain protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) to align with your website’s security configuration. 

Consistency in protocol signals a unified and secure website structure to search engines.

Specify Trailing Slash or Non-Trailing Slash URLs

Choose between trailing slash or non-trailing slash URLs and consistently use the preferred format throughout your website. 

This helps avoid duplicate content issues that can arise due to multiple versions of the same page.

Specify Non-WWW or WWW URLs

Similar to the trailing slash preference, decide whether your canonical URLs should include the “www” subdomain or not. Stick to one format consistently across your website to ensure clarity for search engines.

Use Absolute URLs

When implementing canonical tags, use absolute URLs rather than relative URLs. 

Absolute URLs include the complete address of the webpage, including the protocol and domain, enabling search engines to understand and interpret the canonical directive accurately.

FAQs About Does Google Only Recognize Canonical Versions Of Backlinks

Can Google ignore canonicals?

Google generally honors canonical tags and uses them as a signal for indexing and ranking purposes.

However, there can be situations where Google may choose to ignore canonical tags if it detects conflicting signals or believes there’s a better page to serve in search results.

Does Google index non-canonical pages?

While Google primarily focuses on indexing canonical pages, it may still index non-canonical pages under certain circumstances. 

This can happen if Google determines that the non-canonical pages provide unique or valuable content to users, or if it identifies technical issues with the canonical tag implementation.

Are canonical URLs bad for SEO?

No, canonical URLs are not inherently bad for SEO. In fact, they play a crucial role in consolidating duplicate or similar content, helping search engines understand the preferred version of a page. 

Proper implementation of canonical URLs can improve SEO by consolidating ranking signals and preventing duplicate content issues.

Is canonical necessary?

Canonical URLs are not always necessary for every page on a website. They are primarily used to address duplicate or similar content issues. 

If your website doesn’t have duplicate content problems or multiple versions of the same page, implementing canonical URLs may not be necessary.

Does every page need canonical?

Not every page on a website requires a canonical URL. 

Canonical tags are typically used to resolve duplicate content issues, such as when multiple URLs display the same or very similar content. 

If your website doesn’t have such duplicate content, canonical tags may not be needed for every page.

Do all pages need a canonical URL?

No, all pages on a website do not necessarily need a canonical URL. 

Canonical tags are specifically employed to address duplicate or near-duplicate content. 

If a particular page does not have any duplicate versions, it may not require a canonical URL.

Why use canonical URLs?

Canonical URLs are utilized to consolidate duplicate or similar content on a website, which helps search engines understand the preferred version to index and rank.

 By implementing canonical URLs, you can consolidate ranking signals and avoid diluting your website’s authority across multiple duplicate pages.

How do I fix a non-canonical URL?

To address non-canonical URLs, you should first identify the preferred canonical version of the page. 

Then, ensure that the non-canonical URLs are properly redirected to the canonical URL using 301 redirects. 

Additionally, update internal links and XML sitemaps to point to the canonical URL. 

Regularly monitoring and fixing any issues in your website’s canonicalization process is essential.

What are missing canonicals?

Missing canonicals refer to pages on a website that do not have a canonical tag specified. 

This means that search engines may treat these pages as separate entities, potentially leading to duplicate content issues and diluted ranking signals. 

It is important to ensure that all relevant pages have appropriate canonical tags in place.

Why is Google not indexing all my pages?

There can be several reasons why Google may not be indexing all the pages on your website. 

Some common causes include crawlability issues, low-quality or duplicate content, insufficient backlinks, excessive use of “noindex” tags, or manual actions imposed by Google due to policy violations. 

Conducting a thorough technical and content audit can help identify and address the underlying issues.

Why is Google removing indexed pages?

Google may remove indexed pages from its search results if it detects that those pages violate its guidelines, contain low-quality or irrelevant content, or if the pages are part of a website that has received a manual action for policy violations. 

Regularly monitoring your website’s performance and adhering to Google’s quality guidelines can help prevent the removal of indexed pages.

What is the difference between noindex and canonical?

The “noindex” meta tag is used to instruct search engines not to index a particular page. 

It indicates that the page should be excluded from search engine results. 

On the other hand, the canonical tag specifies the preferred version of a page among multiple duplicates or similar pages. 

It helps search engines understand the canonical version to index and rank.

Is canonical URL relative or absolute?

Canonical URLs can be both relative and absolute. 

An absolute canonical URL includes the complete web address, including the protocol (e.g., http:// or https://), domain, and path. 

A relative canonical URL is specified relative to the current page’s URL, omitting the protocol and domain. 

Both absolute and relative canonical URLs can be used, depending on the specific requirements of your website.

Final Thoughts About Does Google Only Recognize Canonical Versions Of Backlinks

In conclusion, Google primarily recognizes canonical versions of backlinks when determining the authority and relevance of a website. 

Canonical backlinks are those that point to the preferred canonical URL of a page, consolidating ranking signals and indicating the most relevant version of the content. 

However, it’s important to note that Google does consider other factors beyond canonical backlinks, such as the quality, relevance, and diversity of backlinks. 

While canonical backlinks carry significant weight, a well-rounded backlink profile that includes a variety of high-quality and relevant links can enhance a website’s overall SEO performance and visibility in search results. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to focus on building a comprehensive backlink strategy that encompasses both canonical and diverse backlinks.

Julian Goldie

Julian Goldie

Hey, I'm Julian Goldie! I'm an SEO link builder and founder of Goldie Agency. My mission is to help website owners like you grow your business with SEO!

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