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The situation:

I have an online shop running on Shopify server and it's using a domain name I purchased with Godaddy.

When I perform an online SEO checkup on my website it gets a fail regarding to the IP canonicalization:

Your site's IP 23.227.38.32 does not redirect to your site's domain name. This could cause duplicate content problems if a search engine indexes your site under both its IP and domain name.

Four days ago I tried to adjust the DNS settings of Godaddy but today I still get this IP canonicalization issue. Indeed when I type this IP in the address bar it doesn't redirect me to my website.

The question:

In order to not completely ruin my Google ranking, can I just use the <link rel="canonical"> tag in my website header, at least until I find a solution with my DNS records, or will it be completely useless to overcome this specific IP issue and I will get a Google penalty anyway?

  • Just so you know, that is because you are in a shared hosting environment and Shopify is using that IP Address for many sites. The way around this would be to build your own server or VPN, where you would control the IP and how many sites are on the box. – StephenCollins Sep 20 '16 at 16:22
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You can't solve the problem with DNS records. DNS is not capable of issuing redirects on its own. DNS records simply associate a domain name with an IP address. There is no way to use a DNS entry to configure an HTTP redirect.

To issue redirects, you would need to configure the web server software to do so. This would normally be done in your .htaccess file, but I'm not sure what type of control Shopify gives you in this case.

Google is smart enough these days to realize that an IP address with duplicate content is not your preferred canonical URL. When Google detects duplicate content, it simply chooses one of the two to index. In the case of an IP address and a domain name, it will choose the domain name. This type of duplicate content is not a big deal anymore. Fifteen years ago, it would have been a "must fix".

Your link rel canonical meta tag is a perfectly good solution to the problem. With that in place, there is no need to configure the server to issue redirects.

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