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Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 month ago

My Top 11 Tools For Building A Modern Startup, With A Free Plan

More on Productivity

Aldric Chen

Aldric Chen

3 months ago

Jack Dorsey's Meeting Best Practice was something I tried. It Performs Exceptionally Well in Consulting Engagements.

Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash

Yes, client meetings are difficult. Especially when I'm alone.

Clients must tell us their problems so we can help.

In-meeting challenges contribute nothing to our work. Consider this:

  • Clients are unprepared.

  • Clients are distracted.

  • Clients are confused.

Introducing Jack Dorsey's Google Doc approach

I endorse his approach to meetings.

Not Google Doc-related. Jack uses it for meetings.

This is what his meetings look like.

  • Prior to the meeting, the Chair creates the agenda, structure, and information using Google Doc.

  • Participants in the meeting would have 5-10 minutes to read the Google Doc.

  • They have 5-10 minutes to type their comments on the document.

  • In-depth discussion begins

There is elegance in simplicity. Here's how Jack's approach is fantastic.

Unprepared clients are given time to read.

During the meeting, they think and work on it.

They can see real-time remarks from others.

Discussion ensues.

Three months ago, I fell for this strategy. After trying it with a client, I got good results.

I conducted social control experiments in a few client workshops.

Context matters.

I am sure Jack Dorsey’s method works well in meetings. What about client workshops?

So, I tested Enterprise of the Future with a consulting client.

I sent multiple emails to client stakeholders describing the new approach.

No PowerPoints that day. I spent the night setting up the Google Doc with conversation topics, critical thinking questions, and a Before and After section.

The client was shocked. First, a Google Doc was projected. Second surprise was a verbal feedback.

“No pre-meeting materials?”

“Don’t worry. I know you are not reading it before our meeting, anyway.”

We laughed. The experiment started.

Observations throughout a 90-minute engagement workshop from beginning to end

For 10 minutes, the workshop was silent.

People read the Google Doc. For some, the silence was unnerving.

“Are you not going to present anything to us?”

I said everything's in Google Doc. I asked them to read, remark, and add relevant paragraphs.

As they unlocked their laptops, they were annoyed.

Ten client stakeholders are typing on the Google Doc. My laptop displays comment bubbles, red lines, new paragraphs, and strikethroughs.

The first 10 minutes were productive. Everyone has seen and contributed to the document.

I was silent.

The move to a classical workshop was smooth. I didn't stimulate dialogue. They did.

Stephanie asked Joe why a blended workforce hinders company productivity. She questioned his comments and additional paragraphs.

That is when a light bulb hit my head. Yes, you want to speak to the right person to resolve issues!

Not only that was discussed. Others discussed their remark bubbles with neighbors. Debate circles sprung up one after the other.

The best part? I asked everyone to add their post-discussion thoughts on a Google Doc.

After the workshop, I have:

  • An agreement-based working document

  • A post-discussion minutes that are prepared for publication

  • A record of the discussion points that were brought up, argued, and evaluated critically

It showed me how stakeholders viewed their Enterprise of the Future. It allowed me to align with them.

Finale Keynotes

Client meetings are a hit-or-miss. I know that.

Jack Dorsey's meeting strategy works for consulting. It promotes session alignment.

It relieves clients of preparation.

I get the necessary information to advance this consulting engagement.

It is brilliant.

Leonardo Castorina

Leonardo Castorina

7 months ago

How to Use Obsidian to Boost Research Productivity

Tools for managing your PhD projects, reading lists, notes, and inspiration.

As a researcher, you have to know everything. But knowledge is useless if it cannot be accessed quickly. An easy-to-use method of archiving information makes taking notes effortless and enjoyable.
As a PhD student in Artificial Intelligence, I use Obsidian (https://obsidian.md) to manage my knowledge.

The article has three parts:

  1. What is a note, how to organize notes, tags, folders, and links? This section is tool-agnostic, so you can use most of these ideas with any note-taking app.
  2. Instructions for using Obsidian, managing notes, reading lists, and useful plugins. This section demonstrates how I use Obsidian, my preferred knowledge management tool.
  3. Workflows: How to use Zotero to take notes from papers, manage multiple projects' notes, create MOCs with Dataview, and more. This section explains how to use Obsidian to solve common scientific problems and manage/maintain your knowledge effectively.

This list is not perfect or complete, but it is my current solution to problems I've encountered during my PhD. Please leave additional comments or contact me if you have any feedback. I'll try to update this article.
Throughout the article, I'll refer to your digital library as your "Obsidian Vault" or "Zettelkasten".
Other useful resources are listed at the end of the article.

1. Philosophy: Taking and organizing notes

Carl Sagan: “To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

Before diving into Obsidian, let's establish a Personal Knowledge Management System and a Zettelkasten. You can skip to Section 2 if you already know these terms.
Niklas Luhmann, a prolific sociologist who wrote 400 papers and 70 books, inspired this section and much of Zettelkasten. Zettelkasten means “slip box” (or library in this article). His Zettlekasten had around 90000 physical notes, which can be found here.
There are now many tools available to help with this process. Obsidian's website has a good introduction section: https://publish.obsidian.md/hub/

Notes

We'll start with "What is a note?" Although it may seem trivial, the answer depends on the topic or your note-taking style. The idea is that a note is as “atomic” (i.e. You should read the note and get the idea right away.
The resolution of your notes depends on their detail. Deep Learning, for example, could be a general description of Neural Networks, with a few notes on the various architectures (eg. Recurrent Neural Networks, Convolutional Neural Networks etc..).
Limiting length and detail is a good rule of thumb. If you need more detail in a specific section of this note, break it up into smaller notes. Deep Learning now has three notes:

  • Deep Learning
  • Recurrent Neural Networks
    - Convolutional Neural Networks

Repeat this step as needed until you achieve the desired granularity. You might want to put these notes in a “Neural Networks” folder because they are all about the same thing. But there's a better way:

#Tags and [[Links]] over /Folders/

The main issue with folders is that they are not flexible and assume that all notes in the folder belong to a single category. This makes it difficult to make connections between topics.
Deep Learning has been used to predict protein structure (AlphaFold) and classify images (ImageNet). Imagine a folder structure like this:

- /Proteins/ 
     - Protein Folding
- /Deep Learning/
     - /Proteins/ 

Your notes about Protein Folding and Convolutional Neural Networks will be separate, and you won't be able to find them in the same folder.
This can be solved in several ways. The most common one is to use tags rather than folders. A note can be grouped with multiple topics this way. Obsidian tags can also be nested (have subtags).

You can also link two notes together. You can build your “Knowledge Graph” in Obsidian and other note-taking apps like Obsidian.


My Knowledge Graph. Green: Biology, Red: Machine Learning, Yellow: Autoencoders, Blue: Graphs, Brown: Tags.


My Knowledge Graph and the note “Backrpropagation” and its links.


Backpropagation note and all its links

Why use Folders?

Folders help organize your vault as it grows. The main suggestion is to have few folders that "weakly" collect groups of notes or better yet, notes from different sources.
Among my Zettelkasten folders are:


My Zettelkasten's 5 folders

They usually gather data from various sources:

MOC: Map of Contents for the Zettelkasten.
Projects: Contains one note for each side-project of my PhD where I log my progress and ideas. Notes are linked to these.
Bio and ML: These two are the main content of my Zettelkasten and could theoretically be combined.
Papers: All my scientific paper notes go here. A bibliography links the notes. Zotero .bib file
Books: I make a note for each book I read, which I then split into multiple notes.

Keeping images separate from other files can help keep your main folders clean.

I will elaborate on these in the Workflow Section.

My general recommendation is to use tags and links instead of folders.

Maps of Content (MOC) 

Making Tables of Contents is a good solution (MOCs).
These are notes that "signposts" your Zettelkasten library, directing you to the right type of notes. It can link to other notes based on common tags. This is usually done with a title, then your notes related to that title. As an example:

An example of a Machine Learning MOC generated with Dataview.

As shown above, my Machine Learning MOC begins with the basics. Then it's on to Variational Auto-Encoders. Not only does this save time, but it also saves scrolling through the tag search section.
So I keep MOCs at the top of my library so I can quickly find information and see my library. These MOCs are generated automatically using an Obsidian Plugin called Dataview (https://github.com/blacksmithgu/obsidian-dataview).
Ideally, MOCs could be expanded to include more information about the notes, their status, and what's left to do. In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.
In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.

2. Tools: Knowing Obsidian

Obsidian is my preferred tool because it is free, all notes are stored in Markdown format, and each panel can be dragged and dropped. You can get it here: https://obsidian.md/

Obsidian interface. 

Obsidian is highly customizable, so here is my preferred interface:


The theme is customized from https://github.com/colineckert/obsidian-things

Alternatively, each panel can be collapsed, moved, or removed as desired. To open a panel later, click on the vertical "..." (bottom left of the note panel).

My interface is organized as follows:

How my Obsidian Interface is organized.

Folders/Search:
This is where I keep all relevant folders. I usually use the MOC note to navigate, but sometimes I use the search button to find a note.

Tags:
I use nested tags and look into each one to find specific notes to link.

cMenu:
Easy-to-use menu plugin cMenu (https://github.com/chetachiezikeuzor/cMenu-Plugin)

Global Graph:
The global graph shows all your notes (linked and unlinked). Linked notes will appear closer together. Zoom in to read each note's title. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but as your library grows, you get used to the positions and start thinking of new connections between notes.

Local Graph:
Your current note will be shown in relation to other linked notes in your library. When needed, you can quickly jump to another link and back to the current note.

Links:
Finally, an outline panel and the plugin Obsidian Power Search (https://github.com/aviral-batra/obsidian-power-search) allow me to search my vault by highlighting text.

Start using the tool and worry about panel positioning later. I encourage you to find the best use-case for your library.

Plugins

An additional benefit of using Obsidian is the large plugin library. I use several (Calendar, Citations, Dataview, Templater, Admonition):
Obsidian Calendar Plugin: https://github.com/liamcain
It organizes your notes on a calendar. This is ideal for meeting notes or keeping a journal.

Calendar addon from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Citation Plugin: https://github.com/hans/
Allows you to cite papers from a.bib file. You can also customize your notes (eg. Title, Authors, Abstract etc..)

Plugin citation from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Dataview: https://github.com/blacksmithgu/
A powerful plugin that allows you to query your library as a database and generate content automatically. See the MOC section for an example.
Allows you to create notes with specific templates like dates, tags, and headings.

Templater. Obsidian Admonition: https://github.com/valentine195/obsidian-admonition
Blocks allow you to organize your notes.

Plugin warning. Obsidian Admonition (valentine195)
There are many more, but this list should get you started.

3. Workflows: Cool stuff

Here are a few of my workflows for using obsidian for scientific research. This is a list of resources I've found useful for my use-cases. I'll outline and describe them briefly so you can skim them quickly.
3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes
3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)
3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists
3.4 Projects and Lab Books
3.5 Private Encrypted Diary

3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes

Plugins: Templater and Dataview (optional).
To take effective notes, you must first make adding new notes as easy as possible. Templates can save you time and give your notes a consistent structure. As an example:


An example of a note using a template.

### [[YOUR MOC]]
# Note Title of your note
**Tags**:: 
**Links**::

The top line links to your knowledge base's Map of Content (MOC) (see previous sections). After the title, I add tags (and a link between the note and the tag) and links to related notes.
To quickly identify all notes that need to be expanded, I add the tag “#todo”. In the “TODO:” section, I list the tasks within the note.
The rest are notes on the topic.
Templater can help you create these templates. For new books, I use the following template:

### [[Books MOC]]
# Title
**Author**:: 
**Date::
**Tags:: 
**Links::


A book template example.

Using a simple query, I can hook Dataview to it.

dataview  
table author as Author, date as “Date Finished”, tags as “Tags”, grade as “Grade”  
from “4. Books”  
SORT grade DESCENDING


using Dataview to query templates.

3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)

No plugins used.

One of my favorite features of Obsidian is the library's self-contained and portable format. Your folder contains everything (plugins included).

Ordinary folders and documents are available as well. There is also a “.obsidian” folder. This contains all your plugins and settings, so you can use it on other devices.
So you can use Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox for free as long as you sync your folder (note: your folder should be in your Cloud Folder).

For my iOS and macOS work, I prefer iCloud. You can also use the paid service Obsidian Sync.
3.3 Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists and Notes in Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef
Plugins: Quotes (required).

3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Taking Notes and Managing Reading Lists of Scientific Papers

My preferred reference manager is Zotero, but this workflow should work with any reference manager that produces a .bib file. This file is exported to my cloud folder so I can access it from any platform.

My Zotero library is tagged as follows:

My reference manager's tags

For readings, I usually search for the tags “!!!” and “To-Read” and select a paper. Annotate the paper next (either on PDF using GoodNotes or on physical paper).
Then I make a paper page using a template in the Citations plugin settings:


An example of my citations template.

Create a new note, open the command list with CMD/CTRL + P, and find the Citations “Insert literature note content in the current pane” to see this lovely view.


Citation generated by the article https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.24.22269144

You can then convert your notes to digital. I found that transcribing helped me retain information better.

3.4 Projects and Lab Books

Plugins: Tweaker (required).
PhD students offering advice on thesis writing are common (read as regret). I started asking them what they would have done differently or earlier.

“Deep stuff Leo,” one person said. So my main issue is basic organization, losing track of my tasks and the reasons for them.
As a result, I'd go on other experiments that didn't make sense, and have to reverse engineer my logic for thesis writing. - PhD student now wise Postdoc

Time management requires planning. Keeping track of multiple projects and lab books is difficult during a PhD. How I deal with it:

  • One folder for all my projects
  • One file for each project
    I use a template to create each project
### [[Projects MOC]]  
# <% tp.file.title %>  
**Tags**::  
**Links**::  
**URL**::  
**Project Description**::## Notes:  
### <% tp.file.last_modified_date(“dddd Do MMMM YYYY”) %>  
#### Done:  
#### TODO:  
#### Notes

You can insert a template into a new note with CMD + P and looking for the Templater option.

I then keep adding new days with another template:

### <% tp.file.last_modified_date("dddd Do MMMM YYYY") %>  
#### Done:  
#### TODO:  
#### Notes:

This way you can keep adding days to your project and update with reasonings and things you still have to do and have done. An example below:


Example of project note with timestamped notes.

3.5 Private Encrypted Diary

This is one of my favorite Obsidian uses.
Mini Diary's interface has long frustrated me. After the author archived the project, I looked for a replacement. I had two demands:

  1. It had to be private, and nobody had to be able to read the entries.
  2. Cloud syncing was required for editing on multiple devices.

Then I learned about encrypting the Obsidian folder. Then decrypt and open the folder with Obsidian. Sync the folder as usual.
Use CryptoMator (https://cryptomator.org/). Create an encrypted folder in Cryptomator for your Obsidian vault, set a password, and let it do the rest.
If you need a step-by-step video guide, here it is:

Conclusion

So, I hope this was helpful!
In the first section of the article, we discussed notes and note-taking techniques. We discussed when to use tags and links over folders and when to break up larger notes.
Then we learned about Obsidian, its interface, and some useful plugins like Citations for citing papers and Templater for creating note templates.
Finally, we discussed workflows and how to use Zotero to take notes from scientific papers, as well as managing Lab Books and Private Encrypted Diaries.
Thanks for reading and commenting :)

Read original post here

Asher Umerie

Asher Umerie

6 months ago

What is Bionic Reading?

Senses help us navigate a complicated world. They shape our worldview - how we hear, smell, feel, and taste. People claim a sixth sense, an intuitive capacity that extends perception.

Our brain is a half-pool of grey and white matter that stores data from our senses. Brains provide us context, so zombies' obsession makes sense.

Bionic reading uses the brain's visual information and context to simplify text comprehension.

Stay with me.

What is Bionic Reading?

Bionic reading is a software application established by Swiss typographic designer Renato Casutt. The term honors the brain (bio) and technology's collaboration to better text comprehension.

The image above shows two similar paragraphs with bionic reading.

Notice anything yet?

This Twitter user did.

I did too...

Image text describes bionic reading-

New method to aid reading by using artificial fixation points. The reader focuses on the highlighted starting letters, and the brain completes the word. 

How is Bionic Reading possible?

Do you remember seeing social media posts asking you to stare at a black dot for 30 seconds (or more)? You blink and see an after-image on your wall.

Our brains are skilled at identifying patterns and'seeing' familiar objects, therefore optical illusions are conceivable.

Brain and sight collaborate well. Text comprehension proves it.

Considering evolutionary patterns, humans' understanding skills may be cosmic luck.
Scientists don't know why people can read and write, but they do know what reading does to the brain.

One portion of your brain recognizes words, while another analyzes their meaning. Fixation, saccade, and linguistic transparency/opacity aid.

Let's explain some terms.

The Bionic reading website compares these tools.

Text highlights lead the eye. Fixation, saccade, and opacity can transfer visual stimuli to text, changing typeface.

## Final Thoughts on Bionic Reading

I'm excited about how this could influence my long-term assimilation and productivity.

This technology is still in development, with prototypes working on only a few apps. Like any new tech, it will be criticized.

I'll be watching Bionic Reading closely. Comment on it!

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Kaitlin Fritz

Kaitlin Fritz

3 months ago

The Entrepreneurial Chicken and Egg

University entrepreneurship is like a Willy Wonka Factory of ideas. Classes, roommates, discussions, and the cafeteria all inspire new ideas. I've seen people establish a business without knowing its roots.

Chicken or egg? On my mind: I've asked university founders around the world whether the problem or solution came first.

The Problem

One African team I met started with the “instant noodles” problem in their academic ecosystem. Many of us have had money issues in college, which may have led to poor nutritional choices.

Many university students in a war-torn country ate quick noodles or pasta for dinner.

Noodles required heat, water, and preparation in the boarding house. Unreliable power from one hot plate per blue moon. What's healthier, easier, and tastier than sodium-filled instant pots?

BOOM. They were fixing that. East African kids need affordable, nutritious food.

This is a real difficulty the founders faced every day with hundreds of comrades.

This sparked their serendipitous entrepreneurial journey and became their business's cornerstone.

The Solution

I asked a UK team about their company idea. They said the solution fascinated them.

The crew was fiddling with social media algorithms. Why are some people more popular? They were studying platforms and social networks, which offered a way for them.

Solving a problem? Yes. Long nights of university research lead them to it. Is this like world hunger? Social media influencers confront this difficulty regularly.

It made me ponder something. Is there a correct response?

In my heart, yes, but in my head…maybe?

I believe you should lead with empathy and embrace the problem, not the solution. Big or small, businesses should solve problems. This should be your focus. This is especially true when building a social company with an audience in mind.

Philosophically, invention and innovation are occasionally accidental. Also not penalized. Think about bugs and the creation of Velcro, or the inception of Teflon. They tackle difficulties we overlook. The route to the problem may look different, but there is a path there.

There's no golden ticket to the Chicken-Egg debate, but I'll keep looking this summer.

Onchain Wizard

Onchain Wizard

4 months ago

Three Arrows Capital  & Celsius Updates

I read 1k+ page 3AC liquidation documentation so you don't have to. Also sharing revised Celsius recovery plans.

3AC's liquidation documents:

Someone disclosed 3AC liquidation records in the BVI courts recently. I'll discuss the leak's timeline and other highlights.

Three Arrows Capital began trading traditional currencies in emerging markets in 2012. They switched to equities and crypto, then purely crypto in 2018.

By 2020, the firm had $703mm in net assets and $1.8bn in loans (these guys really like debt).

Three Arrows Capital statement of Assets and Liabilities

The firm's net assets under control reached $3bn in April 2022, according to the filings. 3AC had $600mm of LUNA/UST exposure before May 9th 2022, which put them over.

LUNA and UST go to zero quickly (I wrote about the mechanics of the blowup here). Kyle Davies, 3AC co-founder, told Blockchain.com on May 13 that they have $2.4bn in assets and $2.3bn NAV vs. $2bn in borrowings. As BTC and ETH plunged 33% and 50%, the company became insolvent by mid-2022.

Three Arrows Capital Assets Under Management letter, Net Assets Value

3AC sent $32mm to Tai Ping Shen, a Cayman Islands business owned by Su Zhu and Davies' partner, Kelly Kaili Chen (who knows what is going on here).

3AC had borrowed over $3.5bn in notional principle, with Genesis ($2.4bn) and Voyager ($650mm) having the most exposure.

Genesis demanded $355mm in further collateral in June.

Genesis Capital Margin Call to Three Arrows Capital

Deribit (another 3AC investment) called for $80 million in mid-June.

Three Arrows Capital main account overview

Even in mid-June, the corporation was trying to borrow more money to stay afloat. They approached Genesis for another $125mm loan (to pay another lender) and HODLnauts for BTC & ETH loans.

Pretty crazy. 3AC founders used borrowed money to buy a $50 million boat, according to the leak.

Su requesting for $5m + Chen Kaili Kelly asserting they loaned $65m unsecured to 3AC are identified as creditors.

Mr Zhu

Ms Chen Kaili Kelly

Celsius:

This bankruptcy presentation shows the Celsius breakdown from March to July 14, 2022. From $22bn to $4bn, crypto assets plummeted from $14.6bn to $1.8bn (ouch). $16.5bn in user liabilities dropped to $4.72bn.

Celcius Asset Snapshot

In my recent post, I examined if "forced selling" is over, with Celsius' crypto assets being a major overhang. In this presentation, it looks that Chapter 11 will provide clients the opportunity to accept cash at a discount or remain long crypto. Provided that a fresh source of money is unlikely to enter the Celsius situation, cash at a discount or crypto given to customers will likely remain a near-term market risk - cash at a discount will likely come from selling crypto assets, while customers who receive crypto could sell at any time. I'll share any Celsius updates I find.

Conclusion

Only Celsius and the Mt Gox BTC unlock remain as forced selling catalysts. While everything went through a "relief" pump, with ETH up 75% from the bottom and numerous alts multiples higher, there are still macro dangers to equities + risk assets. There's a lot of wealth waiting to be deployed in crypto ($153bn in stables), but fund managers are risk apprehensive (lower than 2008 levels).

Taking higher than normal risk levels

We're hopefully over crypto's "bottom," with peak anxiety and forced selling behind us, but we may chop around.


To see the full article, click here.

James Brockbank

4 months ago

Canonical URLs for Beginners

Canonicalization and canonical URLs are essential for SEO, and improper implementation can negatively impact your site's performance.

Canonical tags were introduced in 2009 to help webmasters with duplicate or similar content on multiple URLs.

To use canonical tags properly, you must understand their purpose, operation, and implementation.

Canonical URLs and Tags

Canonical tags tell search engines that a certain URL is a page's master copy. They specify a page's canonical URL. Webmasters can avoid duplicate content by linking to the "canonical" or "preferred" version of a page.

How are canonical tags and URLs different? Can these be specified differently?

Tags

Canonical tags are found in an HTML page's head></head> section.

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.website.com/page/" />

These can be self-referencing or reference another page's URL to consolidate signals.

Canonical tags and URLs are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect.

The rel="canonical" tag is the most common way to set canonical URLs, but it's not the only way.

Canonical URLs

What's a canonical link? Canonical link is the'master' URL for duplicate pages.

In Google's own words:

A canonical URL is the page Google thinks is most representative of duplicate pages on your site.

— Google Search Console Help

You can indicate your preferred canonical URL. For various reasons, Google may choose a different page than you.

When set correctly, the canonical URL is usually your specified URL.

Canonical URLs determine which page will be shown in search results (unless a duplicate is explicitly better for a user, like a mobile version).

Canonical URLs can be on different domains.

Other ways to specify canonical URLs

Canonical tags are the most common way to specify a canonical URL.

You can also set canonicals by:

  • Setting the HTTP header rel=canonical.

  • All pages listed in a sitemap are suggested as canonicals, but Google decides which pages are duplicates.

  • Redirects 301.

Google recommends these methods, but they aren't all appropriate for every situation, as we'll see below. Each has its own recommended uses.

Setting canonical URLs isn't required; if you don't, Google will use other signals to determine the best page version.

To control how your site appears in search engines and to avoid duplicate content issues, you should use canonicalization effectively.

Why Duplicate Content Exists

Before we discuss why you should use canonical URLs and how to specify them in popular CMSs, we must first explain why duplicate content exists. Nobody intentionally duplicates website content.

Content management systems create multiple URLs when you launch a page, have indexable versions of your site, or use dynamic URLs.

Assume the following URLs display the same content to a user:

  1. https://www.website.com/category/product-a/

  2. https://www.website.com/product-a/

  3. https://website.com/product-a/

  4. http://www.website.com/product-a/

  5. http://website.com/product-a/

  6. https://m.website.com/product-a/

  7. https://www.website.com/product-a

  8. https://www.website.com/product-A/

A search engine sees eight duplicate pages, not one.

  • URLs #1 and #2: the CMS saves product URLs with and without the category name.

  • #3, #4, and #5 result from the site being accessible via HTTP, HTTPS, www, and non-www.

  • #6 is a subdomain mobile-friendly URL.

  • URL #7 lacks URL #2's trailing slash.

  • URL #8 uses a capital "A" instead of a lowercase one.

Duplicate content may also exist in URLs like:

https://www.website.com
https://www.website.com/index.php

Duplicate content is easy to create.

Canonical URLs help search engines identify different page variations as a single URL on many sites.

SEO Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs help you manage duplicate content that could affect site performance.

Canonical URLs are a technical SEO focus area for many reasons.

Specify URL for search results

When you set a canonical URL, you tell Google which page version to display.

Which would you click?

https://www.domain.com/page-1/

https://www.domain.com/index.php?id=2

First, probably.

Canonicals tell search engines which URL to rank.

Consolidate link signals on similar pages

When you have duplicate or nearly identical pages on your site, the URLs may get external links.

Canonical URLs consolidate multiple pages' link signals into a single URL.

This helps your site rank because signals from multiple URLs are consolidated into one.

Syndication management

Content is often syndicated to reach new audiences.

Canonical URLs consolidate ranking signals to prevent duplicate pages from ranking and ensure the original content ranks.

Avoid Googlebot duplicate page crawling

Canonical URLs ensure that Googlebot crawls your new pages rather than duplicated versions of the same one across mobile and desktop versions, for example.

Crawl budgets aren't an issue for most sites unless they have 100,000+ pages.

How to Correctly Implement the rel=canonical Tag

Using the header tag rel="canonical" is the most common way to specify canonical URLs.

Adding tags and HTML code may seem daunting if you're not a developer, but most CMS platforms allow canonicals out-of-the-box.

These URLs each have one product.

How to Correctly Implement a rel="canonical" HTTP Header

A rel="canonical" HTTP header can replace canonical tags.

This is how to implement a canonical URL for PDFs or non-HTML documents.

You can specify a canonical URL in your site's.htaccess file using the code below.

<Files "file-to-canonicalize.pdf"> Header add Link "< http://www.website.com/canonical-page/>; rel=\"canonical\"" </Files>

301 redirects for canonical URLs

Google says 301 redirects can specify canonical URLs.

Only the canonical URL will exist if you use 301 redirects. This will redirect duplicates.

This is the best way to fix duplicate content across:

  • HTTPS and HTTP

  • Non-WWW and WWW

  • Trailing-Slash and Non-Trailing Slash URLs

On a single page, you should use canonical tags unless you can confidently delete and redirect the page.

Sitemaps' canonical URLs

Google assumes sitemap URLs are canonical, so don't include non-canonical URLs.

This does not guarantee canonical URLs, but is a best practice for sitemaps.

Best-practice Canonical Tag

Once you understand a few simple best practices for canonical tags, spotting and cleaning up duplicate content becomes much easier.

Always include:

One canonical URL per page

If you specify multiple canonical URLs per page, they will likely be ignored.

Correct Domain Protocol

If your site uses HTTPS, use this as the canonical URL. It's easy to reference the wrong protocol, so check for it to catch it early.

Trailing slash or non-trailing slash URLs

Be sure to include trailing slashes in your canonical URL if your site uses them.

Specify URLs other than WWW

Search engines see non-WWW and WWW URLs as duplicate pages, so use the correct one.

Absolute URLs

To ensure proper interpretation, canonical tags should use absolute URLs.

So use:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.website.com/page-a/" />

And not:

<link rel="canonical" href="/page-a/" />

If not canonicalizing, use self-referential canonical URLs.

When a page isn't canonicalizing to another URL, use self-referencing canonical URLs.

Canonical tags refer to themselves here.

Common Canonical Tags Mistakes

Here are some common canonical tag mistakes.

301 Canonicalization

Set the canonical URL as the redirect target, not a redirected URL.

Incorrect Domain Canonicalization

If your site uses HTTPS, don't set canonical URLs to HTTP.

Irrelevant Canonicalization

Canonicalize URLs to duplicate or near-identical content only.

SEOs sometimes try to pass link signals via canonical tags from unrelated content to increase rank. This isn't how canonicalization should be used and should be avoided.

Multiple Canonical URLs

Only use one canonical tag or URL per page; otherwise, they may all be ignored.

When overriding defaults in some CMSs, you may accidentally include two canonical tags in your page's <head>.

Pagination vs. Canonicalization

Incorrect pagination can cause duplicate content. Canonicalizing URLs to the first page isn't always the best solution.

Canonicalize to a 'view all' page.

How to Audit Canonical Tags (and Fix Issues)

Audit your site's canonical tags to find canonicalization issues.

SEMrush Site Audit can help. You'll find canonical tag checks in your website's site audit report.

Let's examine these issues and their solutions.

No Canonical Tag on AMP

Site Audit will flag AMP pages without canonical tags.

Canonicalization between AMP and non-AMP pages is important.

Add a rel="canonical" tag to each AMP page's head>.

No HTTPS redirect or canonical from HTTP homepage

Duplicate content issues will be flagged in the Site Audit if your site is accessible via HTTPS and HTTP.

You can fix this by 301 redirecting or adding a canonical tag to HTTP pages that references HTTPS.

Broken canonical links

Broken canonical links won't be considered canonical URLs.

This error could mean your canonical links point to non-existent pages, complicating crawling and indexing.

Update broken canonical links to the correct URLs.

Multiple canonical URLs

This error occurs when a page has multiple canonical URLs.

Remove duplicate tags and leave one.

Canonicalization is a key SEO concept, and using it incorrectly can hurt your site's performance.

Once you understand how it works, what it does, and how to find and fix issues, you can use it effectively to remove duplicate content from your site.


Canonicalization SEO Myths