What Are Canonical Links?

Here is everything you need to know about canonical links: what they are, how they are used, and how to set them up.

You may hear canonical tag or canonical URL said as well, these are just other names for a canonical link.  

What is a Canonical Link?

A canonical link or tag tells search engines what to display in the search engine result pages (SERPS) if a particular page or URL is anticipated to be one of the results.

...It's kind of like how search engines treat 301 redirects after they're recognized, but without the actual redirect that happens for direct page visits. 

Note: A direct page visit would be if you visited the page by pasting the URL directly into a browser. These are treated differently from other types of page visits. From an analytical perspective, clicking the link in a search engine, email, or social network feed are all tracked as different "channels".

When are Canonical Links used? 

Always. Canonical links should be on every single web page of a website.  

But why? 

Because self-referencing canonical links or tags exist. It reconfirms for a search engine that, this page or URL is indeed the preferred listing that should be displayed in the SERPs and it should NOT display another URL or page in it's place.

How is a Canonical Link Configured? 

How you configure a canonical link will generally be different for every content management system (CMS) or marketplace tool or plug-in that you're using.

For example, in our CMS platform is configured in the settings of the web page: 

Canonical URL configuration

for example in our CMS platform, 


That said... 

HTML Configuration

Regardless of the CMS platform you're using, you can always "hard-code" canonical on a page using HTML in the header of a page.

Here's an example of the HTML code you would include: 

<link rel="canonical" href="https://yourdomain.com/page-name"/>


So a self-referencing canonical will be the URL of the page you're editing. 


Depending on your CMS,

a blank canonical link or tag will be 

Note: Depending on your content management system or CMS, a blank canonical link or tag will be 


Important: Growth (Web) Funnels - When creating web funnels that consist of an offer, a Landing Page and a Thank You Page, we want to make sure the Thank You Page contains a canonical tag (canonical link) that points back to one of two possible pages. 

1. The solution/product/software page that contains the funnel. Let's say you have a Payroll Feature List. That funnel begins on the Payroll page. So, the Thank You Page for the feature list >>
https://www.example.com/guides/payroll-feature-list-typ would have a canonical tag that points to the core Product page for Payroll >> https://www.example.com/solutions/payroll

2. The Landing Page that begins the funnel. Let's say you have a Payroll Demo Video funnel. For this funnel, you'd want to point to the landing page that begins the funnel since there's not a best-fit Product page. >> https://www.example.com/demos/payroll-demo-video-typ would have a canonical tag that points to the Landing Page for the same demo video >> https://www.example.com/demos/payroll-demo-video

For more about Growth (Web) Funnels and additional steps you should take outside of canonical tags for Thank You Pages (ex: removing the page from the xml sitemap), check out this article.