How to Add a Canonical Tag in HTML? - VRGyani News


Monday, July 8, 2024

How to Add a Canonical Tag in HTML?

The canonical tag is a vital HTML element for website optimization and management. It helps search engines understand which URL represents the master copy of a page, thus preventing issues related to duplicate content. This blog will guide you through the process of creating and adding canonical tags in HTML, their importance, and how they can be added to a sitemap.

What is a Canonical Tag?

A canonical tag (rel="canonical") is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the "preferred" version of a web page. It tells search engines which version of a URL to consider as the authoritative version when there are multiple URLs leading to the same content.

Why Do We Add Canonical Tag?

Adding a canonical tag is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties: Duplicate content can confuse search engines and may lead to ranking penalties.
  2. Improve SEO: By consolidating signals for duplicate or similar content, you help search engines understand which page to rank.
  3. Maintain Link Equity: Ensuring all backlinks point to a single URL preserves the page's link equity.
  4. Better Crawl Efficiency: Helps search engines focus on the most important pages, improving crawl efficiency.

How Do I Create a Canonical Tag?

Creating a canonical tag is straightforward. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Identify the Preferred URL: Determine the primary URL you want search engines to consider as the authoritative version.
  2. Add the Canonical Tag to the HTML Head: Place the canonical tag within the <head> section of your HTML document.

Example of Canonical Code in HTML

Here’s what the canonical tag looks like in HTML:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang="en">


    <meta charset="UTF-8">

    <title>Page Title</title>

    <link rel="canonical" href="">



    <!-- Page content -->



In this example, is the preferred version of the page.

How Do I Add a Canonical Tag to a Sitemap?

While canonical tags are typically added to individual web pages, they can also be referenced in your sitemap to reinforce which pages are canonical. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create or Update Your Sitemap: Ensure your sitemap is current and includes all the relevant URLs.
  2. Add the Canonical URLs: In the <url> section of your sitemap, include the canonical URL.

Example of Adding Canonical Tags to a Sitemap

Here is an example of how to add canonical URLs in your sitemap:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<urlset xmlns="">












        <xhtml:link rel="canonical" href="" />



In this example, the canonical URL is specified in the <xhtml:link> tag within the <url> entry for the duplicate page.

Best Practices for Implementing Canonical Tags

1. Consistent Use Across All Pages

Ensure that canonical tags are used consistently across all pages of your website to avoid any confusion for search engines.

2. Avoid Self-Referencing Canonical Tags

While it’s not harmful, self-referencing canonical tags (where the canonical tag points to the same URL as the page it’s on) can be redundant. However, it can be useful for clarity in some cases.

3. Update Canonical Tags During Site Changes

If you change your site structure or move pages, update the canonical tags accordingly to reflect the new preferred URLs.


If your site supports HTTPS, ensure that your canonical tags use HTTPS URLs to avoid mixed content issues.

5. Monitor and Audit Canonical Tags

Regularly monitor and audit your site’s canonical tags using tools like Google Search Console to ensure they are implemented correctly and working as intended.

Common Issues with Canonical Tags and How to Fix Them

1. Incorrect URLs

Ensure that the URLs used in canonical tags are correct and lead to the preferred version of the page.

2. Multiple Canonical Tags

Avoid using multiple canonical tags on a single page as this can confuse search engines. Each page should have only one canonical tag.

3. No Canonical Tags on Duplicate Pages

Make sure that duplicate pages contain a canonical tag pointing to the preferred version to consolidate their SEO signals.

4. Incorrect Implementation in Sitemaps

When adding canonical URLs to sitemaps, ensure that they are correctly formatted and placed within the appropriate <url> entries.

Tools to Help Manage Canonical Tags

Several tools can help you manage and audit canonical tags on your website:

  1. Google Search Console: Provides insights into how Google indexes your pages and identifies any canonical tag issues.
  2. Screaming Frog SEO Spider: Allows you to crawl your site and check for canonical tag implementation.
  3. Yoast SEO: A popular WordPress plugin that simplifies the process of adding and managing canonical tags.


Canonical tags are essential for effective SEO and website management. They help prevent duplicate content issues, improve search engine rankings, and ensure that your site’s link equity is maintained. By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this blog, you can effectively implement canonical tags on your website and in your sitemap.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a canonical tag? Creating a canonical tag involves identifying the preferred URL for a page and adding the <link rel="canonical" href="URL"> tag in the HTML <head> section.

How do I add a canonical tag to a sitemap? You can add canonical tags to a sitemap by including the canonical URL within the <xhtml:link> tag inside the <url> entries of your sitemap.

What is the canonical code in HTML? The canonical code in HTML is the <link rel="canonical" href="URL"> tag, which should be placed in the <head> section of your HTML document.

Why do we add canonical tag? We add canonical tags to avoid duplicate content penalties, improve SEO, maintain link equity, and enhance crawl efficiency by guiding search engines to the preferred version of a page.

By carefully implementing canonical tags and regularly auditing their use, you can optimize your website’s performance and ensure a better user experience for your visitors.

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