As you learn more about SEO, there are many things and terms that you will need to know. First, you have to know what canonical and 301 redirects are, what they are utilized for, as well as why you need to use them. While canonical and 301 redirects have been around for some time, most website owners don't realize that they exist or the reasons for their introduction. Many SEO firms will be the first to explain the benefits that they bring.What Is 301 Redirect?
301 redirect is a search engine friendly technique for webpage redirection. It is not difficult to implement and it preserves your SEO rankings. In case you need to move pages or change your file names, it is the safest choice. The code 301 is always interpreted as 'moved permanently'. So, why would you need to use a 301 redirects?It Directs the Robots to the Right Addresses
One of the most important elements in SEO is facilitating the indexation of websites in search engines. This is achieved through the creation of Robots.txt files, and also XML sitemap. Also, this is one of the reasons as to why 301 redirect of www to the non-www is made, to enable simple indexation of your site for major search engines.Links to the Right Addresses
There are many website owners who worry about not getting full link juice of the redirected anchor text links. If your 301 redirect is not in place, then there is certainly no way you will know if you need to create links to non-www or www version of your website. Even if you think link juice does not get separated between the various versions of a page, having the right link from the beginning is still great and should prove to be more advantageous.What is Canonical?
The phrase canonical simply means something that conforms an accepted standard. Canonicalization is a process of selecting the best URL, Uniform Resource Locators when there are several other options. Canonical attributes are utilized in link tag to inform search engines that the contents are duplicate and they should not be indexed. What are the benefits of using canonical tag?Help Search Engines Identify Original Content
Canonical tag enables search engine crawlers to ascertain which web page has a unique content and thus would be ranked high. The product pages can always entail more than a single page relating to one product. This will therefore result in more than one page consisting of the same content, even though it is different. Canonical can help improve websites' URLs, particularly those with more than one home page that appears within SERPs, search engines results page.Should You Use Canonical or 301 Redirects?
Google prefer 301 redirects over canonical. We all know that this isn't the best solution because it depends on the matters affecting a particular site. However, most website owners widely support 301 redirects. Google recommends canonical in case the website owner can't get to server headers. There are other instances when one can use canonical. For instance, if a website owner has a poor tracking code on his URL or if he can't implement 301 redirect appropriately.
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