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Canonical Links and Structured Data

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Link canonical elements

So, we’re now going to look at link canonical elements, and some of the consequences of incorrect implementation.

  • If you haven’t set this up correctly it might mean that good pages can be unintentionally deindexed. So, if you’ve set up a canonical tag that points to the home page, but it’s for a page that has nothing to do with the home page, then there’s an issue there, and it might mean that even the home page might not get indexed correctly.
  • It can reduce search engine trust. So, canonical tags are aimed at duplicate pages or near-duplicate pages, and if Google thinks that you’re doing something which is involving those things, then it can lower your overall trust.
  • And just to bear in mind that when you do add a canonical tag, it does pass reputation, so it pass PageRank, link juice, and that’s something to bear in mind which usually is a good thing but in the wrong context could be a bad thing as well.

Working example

If we look at marker one, this is the page that we want Google to rank, and if we look at marker two there’s kind of like a parameter “cms_admin” added to the URL. Now, we don’t want Google to index this page, so what we’ve done on marker three we can see that we’ve added in a link canonical tag that points to the page that we want to have indexed. And this just makes things really clear, that there’s no duplicate content issue and users can still visit the two different pages as well.

Structured data

structured data is great. It’s very visual like you see in the search results, so we can see some stars and some ratings here.

The problem is there are some consequences of getting this wrong.

  • If it’s not working correctly then it won’t be as visual, so you’ll probably get less clicks.
  • If you do try and deceive search engines and maybe you’ve made up some reviews, that is considered black hat SEO, so that could either get you a search engine penalty or it might make Google a little bit more suspicious about your site so you might get a penalty later on.

Google’s structured data testing tool

Google provides a really good Structured Testing Tool, so you can submit your URL, Google will review the code and tell you if you’ve structured your structured data correctly.

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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

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