A Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing Alternate Pages with Proper Canonical Tags in WordPress
WordPress is an incredible platform that offers endless possibilities for website owners. However, it’s not without its quirks, and one common issue that website owners face is dealing with alternate pages. These alternate pages can lead to duplicate content, which isn’t great for SEO. Fortunately, you can fix this issue by using proper canonical tags. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of fixing alternate pages in WordPress with the right canonical tags, ensuring your website’s SEO stays in top shape.
What Are Alternate Pages and Why Are They a Problem?
Alternate pages, also known as duplicate pages, occur when multiple URLs on your website display similar or identical content. For example, you might have a blog post accessible through different URLs, such as the following:
Search engines see these pages as separate entities, potentially causing confusion and dilution of your website’s search engine ranking. Duplicate content can lead to SEO penalties, making it essential to address the issue with canonical tags.
Step 1: Install a Canonical Tag Plugin
The first step is to install a WordPress plugin that helps you manage canonical tags. Two popular options are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. Install and activate the plugin of your choice. For this article, we’ll use Yoast SEO.
Step 2: Configure the Plugin
Once the plugin is activated, navigate to its settings. In the WordPress dashboard, you’ll typically find a dedicated section for your chosen SEO plugin. In Yoast SEO, this section is labeled “SEO” in the left-hand menu. Click on it to access the settings.
Step 3: Enable Advanced Settings
Within the SEO plugin’s settings, locate the “Advanced” tab. This is where you can fine-tune various SEO aspects, including canonical tags. Click on the “Advanced” tab to proceed.
Step 4: Navigate to the Canonical Tag Settings
Scroll down until you find the “Canonical URLs” section. In Yoast SEO, this section offers options for handling canonical tags. You’ll notice a toggle switch that reads “Advanced settings pages.” Turn this on to reveal the additional settings.
Step 5: Set Canonical URLs
With the advanced settings exposed, you can now specify how you want canonical URLs to be handled on your website. For the most common use case, choose the following options:
- Canonicalize the category, tag, and other taxonomy archive pages.
- Canonicalize the author archive pages.
- Canonicalize the paginated archive pages.
Step 6: Save Changes
Once you’ve configured the settings to your preference, make sure to save the changes. This ensures that the canonical tags are applied consistently across your site.
Step 7: Test the Canonical Tags
It’s always a good practice to double-check your work. Visit some of your alternate pages and view the page source code. Search for the canonical tag (should look like
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/post-title" />). If the tag is correctly set, you’ve successfully fixed the alternate page issue.
Fixing alternate pages with proper canonical tags in WordPress is crucial for maintaining good SEO. By installing an SEO plugin, configuring it to handle canonical tags, and verifying the implementation, you can effectively address the problem of duplicate content and ensure that search engines correctly index your website. This simple yet powerful solution will help improve your site’s SEO and deliver a better user experience for your visitors.