Canonicalization Made Simple

February 14th, 2007

by

Originally published in ClickZ

P J Fusco, lead strategist with Netconcepts highlights canonicalization, “the process of converting data that has more than one possible representation into a ‘standardized’ canonical representation.” Easy, right?

To put this into an clearer context, canonicalization is the process that search engines take to choose the cleanest URLs to display in the SERPs.

Both the below URLs lead to the same page content. Which page do you think has a higher canonical preference to search engines?

  1. http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?id=0005794220711a&type=product&cmCat=search&returnPage=search-results1.jsp&QueryText=leather+cheek+pad&N=4887&Ntk=
    Products&Ntx=mode+matchall&Nty=1&Ntt=leather+cheek+pad&noImage=0
  2. vs.

  3. http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0005794220711a.shtml

As is no surprise, search engines (and users alike) prefer the bottom cleaner URL. PJ gives more examples of engine canonicalization and further explains the differences between Google, Yahoo!, and MSN canonical preference. Click here to learn more about the canonicalization process of search engines.