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  • Writer's pictureBrent Payne

Canonical outside of head

This indicates that the URL in question includes a canonical element within the HTML body instead of within the <head> section.


Why is this important?

When a canonical is placed outside of the <head> section, search engines will disregard it, rendering the intended effect of the rel=canonical attribute ineffective.


What does the Optimization check?

This Optimization will be activated for any internal URL featuring a canonical element located outside the <head> segment of the HTML code.


Examples that trigger this Optimization:

Take for instance the URL: https://example.com/

The Optimization would be triggered if a page at this URL included a canonical link outside the <head>, such as:

<!doctype html><html lang="en">  <head>    <title>example</title>    ...  </head>  <body>    ...    <link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/" />    ...  </body></html>

The Optimization might also be triggered if there are invalid HTML elements disrupting the <head>, leading to an early start of the <body> and thus misplacement of the canonical tag.


How do you resolve this issue?

Given that this Optimization is labeled 'Critical', it signifies a major error that could severely affect organic search traffic. Resolution of Critical issues should be a top priority.


Often, the cause is a <head> section that has been corrupted. If Googlebot processes the HTML and moves the canonical tag to the body, investigate if any of these Optimizations are also triggered:

If addressing these issues doesn't fix the canonical problem, further investigation will be needed. It may suggest a configuration problem with the specific URL, possibly due to a template or plugin error. The canonical tag would then need to be repositioned within the <head>, which might require the help of a developer.

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