By Chris J. Everett, Principal & Founder
Captivate Search Marketing
Over the years, Exponent CMS has proven itself to be one of the top search
engine friendly CMS platforms available in the marketplace – and it just got
I recently teamed up with Exponent CMS code ninja Phillip Ball to integrate
a new Canonical URL field into the core of the CMS, allowing webmasters
to easily add a <link rel="canonical" > tag into the header of their Exponent
CMS web pages, on a page by page basis.
The new Canonical URL field has been integrated into the Exponent CMS page
manager configuration, and you can also assign a Canonical URL when
creating a new news article or blog post.
If you're a developer using Exponent CMS and aren't familiar with the SEO
ramifications of the Canonical URL field, you might be asking yourself why this
new field matters and what its purpose is.
In layman terms, what the Canonical URL Tag does is it tells the search engines
what URL to give credit to in the case of multiple URLs having identical content.
For example, if you're trying to make finding information easy for your website
users by adding the same content in multiple sections of your site, such as
pricing information, photo galleries, etc. by using the Exponent CMS content
aggregation feature on your website, you've created yourself a duplicate content
issue with the search engines.
In this case, it's important to
assign a <link rel=”canonical”>
tag on the pages to let the search
engine know which URL is the
original (and often times only URL
indexed) source of the content.
SEOMoz.org also suggests that the rel=canonical tag be utilized on each
page of your website, even if you don't have a duplicate page, in case of
future developments on your site that might cause a duplicate content issue.
As Phillip and I have collaborated on this feature, we tried to make it as easy and
straight forward as possible from an administrative perspective. If your website
will be using Exponent CMS version 2.2.0 or newer, you'll find the Canonical
URL field on any content page configuration under the “SEO” tab.
You'll also be able to find this Canonical URL field on the Exponent CMS blog,
news, and ecommerce modules when adding or editing a post or product.
If you do not
manually assign a
within this field, the
will default to the
SEF URL for that
In order to manually set a Canonical URL for a piece of content, simply
type or paste in the FULL URL that you want to assign the canonical tag
The canonical URL tag, whether you assign it manually or let it default
automatically, will show up in the header tag of your Exponent CMS website,
directly under the meta description tag:
If your website's version of Exponent CMS isn't the latest and greatest and you
don't want to spend the time upgrading your theme in order to implement this
new feature, Phillip Ball has come up with a work around that you can drop
right into the header of your site's theme.
However, because you should be assigning Canonical URLs on a page by
page basis to eradicate duplicate content issues, this work around is not an
ideal solution if duplicate content is what you're trying to fix.
If you simply want to assign a Canonical URL tag to your web pages because
it's a “SEO best practice” for pages not at risk of duplicate content, here's what
you need to do.
Navigate into the backed files of your website, accessing the theme folder and
adding this code snippet inside the header tag of your default theme and any
subthemes you might have for your site:
<link rel="canonical" href="<?php echo
Here's what that looks like in the theme file:
While not ideal, this relatively easy process will automatically add a
rel=canonical tag on each of your web pages.