Support » Plugin: Yoast SEO » [Plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast] Canonical and 301 Redirect explained

  • Could anyone please explain the practical use of the canonical and 301 redirect in WP SEO by Yoast?

    Canonical URL: >> to remove duplicates like when you have one post in several categories?

    The canonical URL that this page should point to, leave empty to default to permalink. Cross domain canonical supported too.

    301 Redirect: >> in case you’ve moved the post to a new category?

    The URL that this page should redirect to.

    Thanks for any insight!

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • A canonical URL (and the content there) is your preferred version. Let’s say you had duplicate content on 2 URL’s. While both URL’s are valid, you’d like search engines to rank your preferred version. So, on the version that is NOT preferred, you specify the canonical URL – the URL of your preferred version. Consider this practical example. Some believe that pages hold rank better than posts. You write a blog post that becomes extremely popular, and you later decide that to preserve that popularity, you’d like to put the blog post content on a page. That would be duplicate content. The canonical URL tag allows you to mark up the blog post and inform search engines that your preferred version (the canonical version) is the page URL. That way, you can transfer the rank you built on the blog post to the page.

    For the 301 redirect, that is a way to redirect an old URL to a new one. Once you make a blog post that is indexed by a search engine, deleting the blog post does not delete the URL from the search engine index. Following on the canonical URL example, let’s say you created a blog post but later moved the content to a page with a different URL. The canonical tag tells search engines which URL is preferred, but both URL’s remain in the search engine’s index. The 301 redirect is an additional tool to automatically direct visitors to the page – your preferred version. Over time, the 301 redirect will cause a search engine to update its index and remove the URL that you don’t want people to visit.

    frisco, thanks for taking time to explain!


    I am trying to find out about this also.

    How can I show the search engines that a post on a particular website (which is also posted on another website) is the canonical version?

    How do I add a canonical tag to a post on a seperate domain?

    By the way I use Thesis wordpress template and was wondering if I added the canonical tag to where the 301 redirect section is on each post?

    Plugin Author Joost de Valk


    If you have a plugin, like my WordPress SEO plugin, that allows you to enter a canonical on a per post basis, you just add the complete canonical URL under the advanced settings.



    I have recently installed your WordPress SEO plugin. I have pages with urls and parent structuring I want to change, so I have re-created the page on a new url and used BOTH the canonical and 301 redirects. Was that necessary, or does the 301 overwrite the function of the canonical…

    I ticked both the canonical and 301 boxes on all my pages as I didn’t see any point in leaving the page value at the older link.



    Hi @joost,
    Per the instructions on the Page Analysis tab of the SEO plugin, I removed some stop words from my slug. So then I went to the Advanced tab to enter the new URL into the 301 field.

    But then when I try to access the actual post, I get a browser error that tells me the redirect isn’t working properly and might be because of (something to do with) cookies. I cleared all the cookies with my website name in them, but still no-go.

    Am I missing a step? For example, do I need to use both the canonical AND 301 fields together??

    Thanks so much for your help. And for the plugin …. it’s fabulous!
    ~ Sheryl



    p.s. I’m not sure if it matters, but this is on a custom post type.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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