The long-rumored introduction of a simplified system for shifting web content from one domain to another via HTML tags has been confirmed by Google. The canonical tag will eliminate the need for 301 redirects, a frequent irritation for search engine optimization (SEO) professionals.

SEO Roundtable reports that there are three primary reasons for celebration now that the web’s dominant search engine supports the new system: First, some web hosts do not support the previous solution, the 301 redirect. Second, some webmasters lack the technical skill to properly employ the technique. Finally, the canonical tags can be used more selectively, in order to redirect search engines without redirecting users.

The canonical tag, according to Search Engine Land, should help solve one of the long-standing difficulties faced by search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, the hosting of duplicate content on separate domains. Search engines drop duplicate content from their listings, seeing it as an attempt to artificially boost rankings, and websites in the process of transitioning to a new domain can get unfairly dropped for this reason.

Canonical tags should eliminate this type of accidental duplication, experts say.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.