Canonical Tags: A Comprehensive Guide to Removing Them in WordPress
Canonical tags are an essential aspect of search engine optimization for WordPress websites. However, there are instances where you may need to remove them for specific purposes. In this guide, we will delve into the significance of canonical tags, reasons to remove them, and detailed methods to remove them in WordPress.
What Are Canonical Tags?
Canonical tags indicate to search engines which version of a specific page should appear in search results when there are multiple versions of the same content. This problem commonly occurs on websites that have replicated content, resulting in search engines being uncertain which version to index. By incorporating canonical tags to your WordPress website, you can tell search engines which URL should be used as the primary source for the content, and which pages should be ignored when crawling the site. The usual format of a canonical tag is:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/some-page/">
The “canonical” is the relationship between the original URL and the chosen source URL, while “href” pertains to the actual URL of the source page.
Why Might You Need to Remove Canonical Tags in WordPress?
Although canonical tags are essential for proper indexing and ranking of your WordPress website, there are instances where you may need to remove them temporarily or permanently. Some of these reasons include:
1. Fixing Indexing Issues
Canonical tags may cause indexing issues, mainly if there are multiple versions of a page on the site. For example, suppose the website structure changes, and some pages contain irrelevant or outdated content. In that case, the canonical tag may enforce outdated pages as the primary version, creating confusion for search engines.
2. Need for Designing Flexibility
WordPress generates automatic canonical tags for all posts, pages, and archives, which can limit your design flexibility. If you want to have duplicate pages on your website, design different views of the same content, or clone pages for A/B testing purposes, the canonical tag may interfere with such designs.
3. Switching Domain Names
If you migrate your website to a new domain name, you may need to remove existing canonical tags temporarily to avoid conflicts with new URLs.
How to Remove Canonical Tags in WordPress
Here are the two methods for removing canonical tags in WordPress:
1. Using Yoast SEO Plugin
If you’re using Yoast SEO, you can turn off canonical tags through the system settings:
- Go to the WordPress Admin Panel and choose the “SEO” setting option from the dashboard sidebar. Select “Search Appearance” from the sub-menu.
- On the settings page, click on the “Advanced” tab to access more advanced settings.
- Scroll down to “Canonical URLs” and disable the canonical tag setting.
- Click the “Save Changes” button to apply the settings.
2. Editing Files via Code
If you have coding knowledge, you can remove canonical tags manually:
- Access the WordPress core files via FTP
- Look for the “header.php” file in the theme folder and open it in a text editor.
- Find the canonical tag section on the file and remove the line of code that starts with <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/some-page/”>
- Save the changes and upload the updated “header.php” file
It is crucial to note that removing canonical tags permanently can impact search engine optimization negatively.
Canonical tags are essential for proper indexing and ranking of WordPress websites. However, there are instances where you may need to remove them for specific purposes. We hope this guide has provided comprehensive insights into the significance of canonical tags, reasons to remove them, and explained detailed methods of removing them in WordPress.