Webeden Blog How to How to solve Canonical issues with your Website domain

How to solve Canonical issues with your Website domain

7 Replies

How to

If you’ve dipped your toe into Search Engine Optimisation (the process of boosting your website up the results page on Google), or have read our SEO Guide, you might have heard about something called a ‘canonical’ issue.

This is where there is more than 1 version of your homepage.

What do you mean more than 1 version?

This means that your website exists on two slightly different URLs. These would be:

http://www.yourdomainname.co.uk

and

http://yourdomainname.co.uk (without the ‘www’)

This is called a ‘canonical issue’, and creates a problem for search engines. And if search engines have a problem with you then they’re less likely to rank your website highly.

The problem is this.

Because your homepage exists on two different URLs, Google isn’t sure which is your ‘main’ homepage. Therefore, when deciding where to rank your website in the Search Engine Results Page, it dithers between the two, and ranks both – but very low down.

The links on your website serve as pointers to direct search engines around your website. The page with the most links pointing to it is usually the homepage. But if your homepage is basically split into two different places, half the links will probably point to one, and the rest to the other. This means that ‘power’ of those links is split in two – effectively halved.

There is a solution to this problem (that you didn’t know you had!)

What you need to to is to designate 1 version of your homepage as the ‘main’ one, and automatically point all the link power from the other to the main one.

In order to do this you need to buy a domain name, or use the domain you’ve already registered. When setting up your domain name to be your main website address (IE getting rid of the ‘webeden.co.uk’ bit) you go to:

Admin –> Site addresses –>Add site address

The dialogue box looks like this:


Enter your domain name here as your site address. BUT make sure you enter it both WITH and WITHOUT the ‘www’ on two separate lines. Then all you need to do is designate one version – the WWW one – as your main ‘preferred’ site address.

Once this is done, anyone and any search engine trying to get on your website by typing your domain name with the ‘WWW’ will automatically be forwarded to the version with the ‘WWW’

And thats it.

Solve the canonical issue with your website by following these steps. Its one of the basic things you need to do to help your SEO program.

Any canonical questions? Leave us a comment below.

  • http://www.worksoptowngirlsfc.co.uk guy dennis

    Hi all,
    Trying to change default website to the www. one so it will appear on google search engine but when i go through the procedure set out above it doesn’t seem to give me the option to change,

    Any ideas

    Thanks

    guy

  • admin

    Hi Guy,

    Please can you email me your username and password so I can have a go?

    Its ken@webeden.net.

    Thanks,
    Ken

  • http://www.surreytaichi.co.uk kevin

    should i assume this is an issue for all websites unless it’s been manually altered?

  • admin

    Hi Kevin,

    Solving canonical issues with your domain is important to get right with website.

    For example, your website exists here: http://surreytaichi.co.uk/ and here http://www.surreytaichi.co.uk/

    So that’s with AND without the ‘www’.

    All you need to do is designate one version – the WWW one – as your main ‘preferred’ site address.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Ken

  • http://www.mcrmarketingsolutions.com Matt Cotton

    It maybe a little off topic, but I have a search engine issue which could be related to this (although I have now carried out the above fix).

    My site is listed under 2 domains – http://www.mcrmarketingsolutions.com and http://www.mattcottonrallying.co.uk. Both point to the same site.

    But since I have managed to get this pointing issue working, google no longer shows any description for either site. Its just shows the site name.

    Ive filled out the metadata and site descripton etc some time ago..what am I missing!?

    TIA

    Matt

  • Ray

    Hi Matt,

    I can see that you have added the Site Description to your site. I think they will pick this up eventually but i do not know how long that may be.

    I have got our SEO guys to figure this one out as they are also stumped. I shall get back to you asap.

  • http://www.bubblemachine.biz joe

    i don’t think you need to put the Http:// in as it is done automatically?