Canonicalization

Canonicalization is a method used to help prevent duplicate content issues and manage the indexing of URLs in search engines. Implementing the canonical tag link attribute “rel=canonical” is a signal to search engines about the preferred page for indexing, and will be abided to in most cases when it is correctly implemented to an equivalent page. Our Hangout Notes on canonicalization provide best practice advice and insights for how it is handled by search engines.

Anything Contained on Non-canonical Pages Will Not Be Used for Indexing Purposes

February 7, 2020 Source

When Google pick a canonical for a page, they will understand there is a set of pages, but only focus on the content and links of the canonical page. Anything that is only contained on the non-canonical versions will not be used for indexing purposes. If you have content on those pages that you would like to be indexed, John recommends ensuring they are different.


Review Canonical Signals if Google Are Continually Picking a Different Canonical to the Ones Set

January 31, 2020 Source

Google may occasionally pick a canonical that is different the one that has been set for certain pages, but this doesn’t change anything from a ranking point of view. However, if you’re seeing this on a large scale, John recommends reviewing if you are sending confusing signals to Google.


No Need to Remove Internal Links on Non Canonical Pages as Google is Able to Figure Out Connections

January 24, 2020 Source

Google sees links from a canonical page to a canonicalised page, and sometimes there can be multiple internal links that are associated with each. In this case, Google will combine all of the signals and keep them with each page, but is able to understand the connection between the canonical and canonicalised pages.


Avoid Providing Google with Conflicting Canonical Tags When Working on JavaScript Sites

January 10, 2020 Source

If you have a JavaScript site, John recommends making sure that the static HTML page you deliver doesn’t have a canonical tag on it. Instead use JavaScript to add it, in order to avoid providing Google with different information. Google is able to pick the canonical up after rendering the page in order to process and use it.


Google Will Usually Drop Session IDs from URLs

January 7, 2020 Source

Instead of choosing a representative URL for a set of URLs with session IDs, Google will usually drop the session ID from the URLs completely if it recognises that they don’t return any unique content.


Google Would View a Page Canonicalized to a Noindex URL as a Noindexed Page

December 10, 2019 Source

If you have a canonical link pointing to a page that is noindexed, the page canonicalised to it would also be considered noindex. This is because Google would view it as a redirect to a noindex page and therefore drop it.


There is No Risk of a Noindex Signal Being Transferred to the Target Canonical Page

December 10, 2019 Source

If a page is marked as noindex and also has a canonical link to an indexable page, there is no risk of the noindex signal being transferred to the target canonical page.


Having Canonical Tags Set For Parameter URLs Helps Google Understand Connections Between Pages

November 1, 2019 Source

Google tries to figure out the canonical URL for parameter pages that are included in the GSC parameter handling tool, so they may crawl these pages to identify and understand the canonical set up and connection.


Canonical Tags Should Remain The Same Between Desktop & Mobile Sites Even With Mobile First Indexing

October 18, 2019 Source

If you have a separate m. version of your site, the canonical should remain pointing to the desktop version, despite mobile-first indexing. This is because Google will use the canonical tag to understand which of the pages belong together. Internally, Google will pick the mobile version as canonical.


Related Topics

Crawling Indexing Crawl Budget Crawl Errors Crawl Rate Disallow Sitemaps Last Modified Nofollow Noindex RSS Fetch and Render