Canonical tag management
What is a Canonical Tag and why should I care?
A canonical tag (aka "rel canonical") is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or "duplicate" content appearing on multiple URLs. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.
Where do I manage these magical Canonical Tags?
In the admin tools, do the following...
- Open an article or start a new one.
- Click on the SEO tab.
- Find the text field near the top of the page with the title "Canonical."
Additionally, if you're republishing articles from a site other than then one you're editing, there are a couple system settings you can toggle regarding the canonical URL:
article.external.canonical.enabled - Set this to true, save, and clear the Admin cache in order to enable an external link in the Canonical URL field.
article.canonical.reference.link.enabled - Set this to true, save, and clear the Admin cache in order to add a line of text "This article was originally posted on <canonical url>" on the bottom of your articles which have an external canonical URL. This functionality is designed to work only when you are using the "Copy to Related Sites" functionality between your ePublishing sites.
What do I put in that empty void of a text field?
The Canonical URL field is meant to contain... Yup! A URL.
The URL should point to the original or "authoritative" version of the article. It might be in another section of the same website at a different URL for some bizarre marketing reason or you are repurposing or republishing the article from another website.
If you looked at an article page's source code and noticed a canonical tag already in place, don't panic.
We automatically place a Canonical Tag in the article page code to tell search engines what the one true URL is for the article. Typically this is the exact same URL that you see in your browser's URL bar for the article but it is there because it's possible to link to an article in different ways...
In the example, https://www.mysite.com/articles/12345-i-hate-mornings is the correct, canonical URL and we want search engines to use that one instead of any other oddball URL they found on someone else's website or incorrectly entered by a misguided author.
Whatever you enter in the "Canonical URL" field will replace the automatically created default URL in the Canonical Tag.
When are Canonical Tags automatically created and are unicorns involved?
Yes. In fact, our unicorn overlords created Canonical Tags in order to distract us from their plot to replace Coke with Pepsi. But, I digress.
ePublishing automatically inserts Canonical Tags for articles when the article is first created because of the reasons that you skipped over above because it looked complicated. If your website has a customized (aka overridden) article template then the automatic canonical tag may not show up in the page source code. If you don't see the tag and you want to take advantage of this feature, please contact your Project Manager.
ePublishing also inserts Canonical Tags when you use the Copy-to functionality. We assume that the site you are copying FROM contains the original, authorized version of the article so we automatically link back to it in the Canonical Tag.
If you had already inserted a custom Canonical Tag in the Canonical URL field for the original article because it was itself a copy from the same or another website, we will copy that Canonical URL FROM the original article and update the copied article.