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://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.