SEO and IP canonicalization in WordPress

Ideally, we have 2 options to access any website, which is through IP address (as in 157.19.0.1) and using the domain name (as in www.xyz.com). Technically if someone tries to access the website through 157.19.0.1 or xyz.com they should land on the same page with the same content. But sometimes this doesn’t happen and then the issue is called IP Canonicalization, which is actually a technical understanding problem of Google.

When the search engine bots interpret your IP address and domain name are pointing to different pages with the same content this IP Canonicalization problem occurs. IP Canonicalization can be exactly defined as selecting the correct website URL if many options exist. For example

  • xyz.com
  • com
  • com/index.php

IP Canonicalization can create hurdles to do optimization on your site. Due to different URL problems sometimes users land on the page which you do not actually want them to land. It is also known as URL canonicalization as there are 2 URLs working for one site.

Disadvantages of IP Canonicalization/URL canonicalization

  • Duplicate content issue
  • Link juice spreads among all these duplicate pages
  • The robots of search engines treat the same version to different URL versions and many more!!

SEO and IP canonicalization in WordPress

IP canonicalization is a real problem for SEO, the main 2 impacts of IP Canonicalization SEO are:

Problems with ranking unique content

When the search engine robot gets confused due to IP canonicalization between the same URL it may rank the one which you don’t want to present before your audience. The real hard work you have done to create unique and good content may not rank.

Harming site’s rank

When your domain name and IP address resolving to different URLs it will lead your website to rank slow. Due to IP canonicalization, your site’s traffic gets distributed between more than one page (some may open the page with xyz.com and some www.xyz.com). Along with the traffic, your link juice and your site authority are also being split.

IP Canonicalization check and how to fix IP Canonicalization

The basic one to check whether your site has an IP canonicalization issue is by checking with Google. Enter your IP address into your browser and check, if it will redirect to your domain name or not. If it will redirect to your domain name then you need to relax, if it doesn’t then you need to think of how to fix the IP canonicalization issue on your website.

Let’s assume you are still in doubt or you don’t know what your IP address is, then how to find the issue? Well, there are several ways for IP Canonicalization check; here are few of them;

a) Using the built-in traceroute function

Use your Windows or MAC and get the URL from your traceroute, You can use the IP address that you got from your traceroute and place that in your tool check for any canonicalization issues.

b) Using tools

There are various tools that are available to check if your website has a canonicalization issue or not. There are many such tools available on Google, you just need to Google it, place the URL of your site and it will determine and place the result if your site does have an IP canonicalization issue or not.

How to solve URL IP Canonicalization or IP canonicalization –

Using Google Domains to fix-

  • Sign in to Google domain by signing in to your Google account
  • Click on your domain name then click on the website icon that is placed in the left navigation panel
  • Click on forward then enter your IP address in the place of website URL and then click forward

You can fix it on the server too with the help of your developer.

How to check if the IP canonicalization issue is solved?

  • There are various ways to check if the canonical issue has got resolved; the basic one is by using your browser. Enter your IP address in your browser and see if it redirects to the domain name that you deem canonical.
  • Using $curl -I http://your-server-ip, use this command in your command prompt (Windows) or terminal in Linux or macOS for checking if you have successfully resolved the issue.
  • You can use tools too for checking the same.

Finding and resolving IP Canonicalization is really important for any website to perform well in the search engine’s result page. This is definitely a concept you need to learn and adapt to make your website perform well in SEO.

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