How to Use Canonical URLs for SEO Gains
One of the biggest mistakes a webmaster and their clients can make is using the same exact canonical URL on every page, usually by applying it to a global include file.
Why is this bad? Establishing a canonical relationship tells Google to give all SEO credit to the URL listed in the canonical string and not to index other variations of the URL of the current page.
Online stores tend to have thousands of product pages and sometimes each product or category has more than one URL that can show the exact same product page.
The following URLs bring up the same exact page, but are considered to have “duplicate content”.
In this case, the canonical URL tells Google to essentially ignore all other versions of this page except the one the SEO developer wants indexed.
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.website.com/~path/seo-books.html" />
The same SEO theory can be applied to your home page:
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