How to fix canonical issues in WordPress?

canonical issues

Canonical issues occur when multiple URLs on your website serve the same or very similar content, leading to duplicate content problems. This can negatively impact your site’s SEO, as search engines may struggle to determine which version of the content to index and rank. To fix canonical issues in WordPress, follow these steps:

  1. Set your preferred domain:

Choose whether you want your site to be accessed with or without the ‘www’ prefix, and make sure this preference is consistent across your site.

a. In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General.’
b. Set both the ‘WordPress Address (URL)’ and ‘Site Address (URL)’ fields to either include or exclude the ‘www’ prefix, according to your preference.
c. Save the changes by clicking on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

  1. Set up proper URL redirection:

Configure your .htaccess file or use a redirection plugin to redirect the non-preferred version of your domain to the preferred version.

a. If you have access to your .htaccess file, add the following code to enforce your preferred domain choice:

For a non-www domain preference:

rubyCopy codeRewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.*)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

For a www domain preference:

perlCopy codeRewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

b. If you prefer using a plugin, install a redirection plugin like ‘Redirection’ or ‘Simple 301 Redirects’ to set up the appropriate redirects.

  1. Use an SEO plugin to manage canonical URLs:

Install and configure an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, or Rank Math to automatically generate and manage canonical URLs for your site.

a. Most SEO plugins will automatically add canonical tags to your pages, posts, and other content types, which helps search engines understand the preferred version of your content.
b. If you want to manually set a canonical URL for a specific page or post, edit the page or post and find the SEO plugin’s meta box or options panel. There should be an option to enter a custom canonical URL.

  1. Configure your permalink settings:

Make sure your permalink settings are consistent and user-friendly.

a. In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks.’
b. Choose a permalink structure that provides a clean, descriptive URL format, such as ‘Post name.’
c. Save the changes by clicking on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

  1. Remove or noindex duplicate content:

If your site contains duplicate content due to content served through different URLs, consider removing the duplicates, consolidating the content into a single page, or adding a ‘noindex’ directive to the duplicate content.

a. Use the SEO plugin’s settings to add a ‘noindex’ directive to specific content types or individual pages, if necessary.
b. Alternatively, consolidate duplicate content into a single, authoritative page and set up 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new, consolidated URL.

By following these steps, you can effectively address canonical issues on your WordPress site, improving your site’s SEO and ensuring search engines index and rank your content correctly.


  • How to add Canonical Tag in WordPress without plugin?

Published on: 2023-03-31
Updated on: 2024-07-15

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.