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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Canonicalization & related issues

In the year 2009, Google & yahoo both announced about their support for the use of rel=canonical, yet till this date there is a lot of misconception about this simple one line html among the webmasters & Seo’s. However in this article we will try to discuss in brief about this & find out the solution to our common misconception.

1.Using rel=canonical cross domain

rel=canonical is just a simple way to tell Google about a page that is duplicate to another one,  but it doesn’t entitle you to use  rel=canonical cross domain if it appears to be manipulative. However you can use it in cases where multiple sites are owned by the same webmaster & the content of those sites are helpful to the users, but you need to make sure that they don’t share duplicate content as this would be seen as a serious violation of Google’s guidelines.

2. Using rel=canonical on entire site

You see excessive use of canonical tag is never encouraged, though any clear evidence of Google penalizing this practice has not been found but still we should avoid it as much as possible.

3.  301 redirects or rel=canonical ?

It depends…from an  seo standpoint of view they both serves a similar purpose, but there is a difference between this two…a 301 redirection takes the visitor to your desired canonical page where as the rel=canonical doesn’t, therefore if you want to keep both the pages available to the visitors then use rel=canonical tag, otherwise you may want to use a 301 redirect only.

4.Can you prevent indexing by using rel=canonical ?

Yes, Google does honor this practice therefore avoid indexing pages with rel=canonical

5. Does rel=canonical hampers page authority?

No if you do it properly then you should not be having any problem regarding the page authority issue, it acts exactly like a 301 redirect & passes the page value to the non-canonical page

6. Should I use chain 301 or rel=canonical?

Although chain redirection can pass page authority but still the practice is not recommended as it looks sloppy, & sometimes might even cost you in the form of reduced page rank.

7. Can I use 301 redirection for solving duplicate content issue?

If you have a choice to control the duplicate contents on your site, why would you let Google do it for you? You are using rel=canonical on duplicate pages to let google know about the original page, then google deciding which is the actual page, & then... only then perhaps Google might exempt it from  duplicate content penalty , I ask you…why would you risk it when you have an option to deal with the  issue yourself?