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New Canonical Link Tag Will Help with Duplicate Content

Feb 12, 2009 / by Dave Bascom

Just like the lamb lying down with lion, but the big three search engines came together for a rare joint effort to announce the launch of a new feature that will help ease the world's duplicate content problems. The new feature, called the <link> tag tells the search engines what version of the URL is the correct one to want index.

The link tag goes in the <head> section of the page of looks like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.somerandomsite.com/hot-dogs" />

The search engines have been doing a pretty good job figuring out the right URL when people use redirects properly, but it's not always easy to get it right--especially when we build these nutty sites with 50 different URLs pulling up the same content. This change should help a lot of webmasters sleep easier knowing that their proper, canonical URL will be indexed and given all the link juice it deserves. I look at it like a page by page sitemap to tell the search engines what URL to index.

Official blog posts about the new link / canonical tag:

Yahoo

Google

Microsoft

Coverage on other blogs:

Search Engine Land

Joost already created a WordPress plugin for this feature

3 Reasons to Use rel=canonical, 4 Reasons not to use it

Topics: Search Engine News

Dave Bascom

Written by Dave Bascom

Dave has been doing search engine optimization since 1998. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Marketing Communications. Dave currently Lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah with his wife and 4 kids. He enjoys sports, hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.

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