What happens when we have multiple versions of the same content on different URLs or in the other words duplicate content?
This creates problems. Google doesn’t like you trying to manipulate results by showing the same thing in different places. You will frustrate Google because it doesn’t know which version(s) to rank for query results.
e.g Someone searched for “Smooth Round Glass Bead”
There are 2 different urls for the same product:
Google is confused as to which one to rank and display in search results.
What’s the solution to this?
Should we avoid multiple version of URL for the same content?
Answer: Not necessarily. We need to tell Google which one to rank when we have multiple URL versions of the same content. How?
*Canonical URL Tag*
All you need to do is to simply add this <link> tag to specify your preferred version inside the <head> section of the duplicate content URLs. :
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/ beads/smooth-round/smooth-round-glass-bead/>
So now Google will understand that the duplicates all refer to the canonical URL: =”http://www.example.com/ beads/smooth-round/smooth-round-glass-bead”. Additional URL properties, like PageRank and related signals, are transferred as well.
Remember, if you frustrate Google, he will push you down in the search result :))