Recently, a user on Reddit asked about the difference between a Canonical and a Self-Referential Canonical.
Google’s John Mueller explained the concept saying:
It’s about the URL that’s mentioned.
<link rel=”canonical” href=”b.html” /> If this is on a.html, then it’s just a normal canonical (technically canonical link element), if it’s on b.html, then it’s a self-referential one.
He also mentioned that using a Self-Referential Canonical Tag can help clean up small SEO mistakes:
Since you don’t know how people link to your pages, a self-referential one helps to clean up small mistakes. For example, if a link goes to b.html?utm=cheese, then usually the server just shows b.html, and a self-referential canonical link element there would then encourage search engines to just use “b.html” instead of “b.html?utm=cheese”.
At the very basic, a Canonical Tag is a link element to inform the Search Engine that a particular URL represents the content of the main page. The purpose of using Canonical Tags is to avoid duplicate content issues. Since Google doesn’t like Duplicate Content, an SEO needs to implement the right canonical tags on their web pages.
Self-Referential Canonical Tags, although doesn’t point out to any master page or similar pages, is a recommended practice for all the SEOs. It helps Google understand the proper URL from all the variations of the URLs created, for indexing and ranking on the SERP.
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