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Mastering Shopify Collection Canonical Tags Without the Jargon

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    Entaice Braintrust

Hey there,

Imagine you’re setting up awesome displays in your shiny new store to attract wandering eyes. Now, each display—or in Shopify’s language, each 'collection'—shows off items that might overlap with others. You've got a summer essentials display with sunscreen, but that same sunscreen also shows up in your beach gear collection. Online, this can confuse search engines—they’re like customers who can’t decide where to look because the same product shows up in multiple places!

In Shopify, there’s a clever feature to make this easier on everyone—it’s the canonical tag. Today, we’re breaking it down together so it makes perfect sense why and how you should use it in your Shopify store.

What's a Canonical Tag?

Now, imagine telling your customers, “Hey, all these items are great, but this arrangement right here is the main deal.” That’s what a canonical tag does. It points search engines to the original or 'main' version of content on your site. This is crucial when you have similar items listed under different collections to prevent something called ‘duplicate content issues’ where search engines might penalize or lower your store's visibility due to content repetition.

Why Shopify Collection Canonical Tags?

On Shopify, when you create collections, each collection can potentially compete with others for the same search rankings if they contain similar products or tags. By using canonical tags, you effectively tell search engines which collection they should pay attention to. It’s like guiding a friend through a crowded market—you hold their hand and make sure they don’t get lost or distracted by the similar stalls.

Setting Up Canonical Tags in Shopify

Shopify is pretty smart and usually handles these tags automatically for products to prevent duplicate content issues. However, managing canonicals manually becomes crucial when dealing with collections especially if you’ve customized your store’s structure extensively.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Identify Duplicate Content: First, look through your collections. Do you find items or similar collections that could compete against each other? Note them down.

  2. Decide the Preferred URL: Choose which collection page you think should be the main one. It might be the collection that represents your products the best or the one that's the most popular.

  3. Implement the Tag: For Shopify users, diving into HTML might sound daunting. You might need to tweak your theme's code a bit. Here’s a simple line you can use:

    <link rel="canonical" href="" />

    Place this in the <head> section of the HTML file for the collections that aren't your preferred ones. Often, this means accessing your Shopify admin panel, going to Online Store > Themes, and then editing the code for the theme.

  4. Verify Your Changes: Use tools like Google’s Search Console to check if your canonical tags are recognized correctly. You don’t want to miss out on guiding your search engine friends properly!

Best Practices and Things to Avoid


  • Regularly update canonical tags if you change the structure of your collections.
  • Consult or hire a Shopify expert if you're not comfortable tweaking HTML code.
  • Use canonical tags together with other SEO strategies like meta tags, alt text for images, etc.


  • Set a canonical tag just for the sake of it. Understand its purpose.
  • Forget to monitor your site's performance post-changes. Sometimes, adjustments are necessary.

The Takeaway

Think of canonical tags like strategically placed signposts in your store that guide both customers and search engines to your best offerings. They enhance your store’s SEO, making sure it stands out in the crowded, ever-competing online market.

Remember, you don’t need to become an overnight coding guru to implement these. A careful approach, understanding your store’s layout, and maybe a helping hand from a tech-savvy pal or professionals are your tools for mastering these useful tags!

So, ready to sort out those displays and make sure everyone – especially the search engine bots – knows their way around? Let’s do it!