What is Website Canonicalisation & Will It Affect Me In 2019?

Websites canonicalisation refers to the scenario that two web pages rank for the same keyword.

But the main premises is you have two (or several) pages ranking for the same keyword.

For example, our homepage is ranking for terms related to our SEO work in derby. If we had another page (we don’t) that also optimised for this keyword then we would have a canonicalisation issue.

Therefore, our attempts to dominate the search for our desired keyword would be diminished as Google is trying to completely eliminate canonicalisation in websites for 2019.

Why would Google not like a website to have multiple pages ranking for the same keyword?

In the past you could try and dominate the whole search results via one website.

But that gives you a monopoly on certain keywords that Google might not benefit from you having this monopoly. For example if it’s a service business in a specific location, Google recognises that, as a customer, you might want to get multiple quotes from multiple companies. If there was just one website dominating the whole search, you would only be able to get one quote, therefore not serving the customer (who Google wants to serve. They are using their search engine after all).

Disallowing the monopoly should give the user a richer experience as you now have multiple experts providing data rather than just one expert, narrowing the user’s options.

This is just one way in which canonicalisation would be bad for customer experience, but there are multiple scenarios in which canonicalisation is bad for customer experience. Google was not always onto this though. However, they are getting better and better at being able to avoid canonicalised pages.

What about 2018 and 2019?

You used to be able to get away with it but Google is cracking down. As of late 2018 and indefinitely 2019, I see canonicalisation as a serious contributor in sites not ranking highly.

I’ve now worked with many sites that were originally very canonicalised and after some changes, I’m seeing a significant rise in ranking.

Another reason for not wanting sites to rank highly that are canonicalised is that these pages probably give the user a bad experience.

If they cannot distinguish what your page is about, they will assume your potential customers or readers cannot either.

So, it’s extremely important that your websites are not canonicalised.

Be sure to check your sites that may not be performing well this year, go through and make some changes.

Monopolising a search term

Is any sort of monopoly really impossible?

Although Google does not want us to monopolise a search term – we want to. If the competition can’t keep up with our multiple properties ranking across the first page, this is their fault in our eyes.

You can actually monopolise a first page. However, you can’t go about it the old way where you could rank multiple pages for the same keyword.

You just have to use other separate Google properties. A separate Google property, in my opinion, is a web property that is not on your main domain name and but can still be branded as your company.

For example separate Google properties would be, a branded Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, Blogger website etc. There are many types of separate Google properties out there that have the ability to rank for your main keywords.

For example, if your keyword was “builders Derby”, your website is already ranking on the front page and you are getting a great return for being on the front page for this term. 

You could then decide to get more clicks from this search term by ranking multiple Google properties and get more clicks off this search term for your business.

This will also make you look like the authority on the search term, which in turn should help conversion if you have more than one branded property on the front page for the search term.

To rank the separate Google properties, it’s a separate topic entirely, but if you’ve managed to rank one property there, there is no reason why you cant get another up there.

This is obviously just one way to get around this canonicalisation penalty that is hurting many sites out there in 2018. Instead of trying to rank loads of pages for one search term, you can rank your website strongly against that search term then use other properties to also rank for that search term.

Will this tactic go away?

Maybe at one stage Google will also prevent the separate properties from also ranking for the desired keyword but at this moment I see no evidence of this and don’t expect to anytime soon. However, as with all things Google, we expect this will change within the next few years.

So while the opportunity is there why not take advantage of it?

if you are already top spot for you desired keyword you should be receiving around 30-40% of the clicks for you term.

If you were to rank a separate Google property into the search results you could gain an even higher percentage of clicks and be able to look like you are the leading authority for your search related terms.

Appearing as the lead authority on your search related term would no doubt improve conversion due to the added security and reassurance the searcher has in your brand.

“Jesus, these guys are all over the front page…”

The main take away

So, the take away points from this article should be that canonicalisation is a very real Google penalty in 2018 and indefinitely 2019. Therefore you should go look at your sites that aren’t performing well and see if there any canonicalisation issues.

This probably had the most positive impacts on our sites throughout the whole year. You can make these on site changes, URL name changes and just generally distinguish your pages from each other more clearly and see massive changes quickly. We really mean it.

Just make sure that your pages are not all ranking for the same keyword.

However if you notice it in sites that are performing well, be wary about changing it straight away.

Some industries and search terms can get away with it.

Also a good rule for thumb of mine is, if a site is performing well, leave it well alone.

Only begin experimenting when it’s not performing well consistently for a a good couple of months. Also, the other take away is leveraging the ability to rank separate Google properties.

If you have profitable keywords and you would like to get more clicks and become the leading authority for that search term, start the separate Google properties instead of more website pages. Good luck with it all and wish you the best in terms of rankings!

Please follow our properties, let us know and we’ll get onto yours!

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