TheOptimizationIdiot - 4:30 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
What type of alternate are you using and what do you mean by:
Different variations of the same page. As an example, think a business offers multiple types of service and there's only one offering the "main" service, but the same one also offers 3 specific sub-services. There would be 4 pages for the business. One for the main service offered and one for each of the other sub-services that are worded more specifically and linked to from the specific sub-service sections for those who are looking for the sub-service more specifically than the main service.
The 4 separate pages are "slightly different variations" of the same page, or in HTML, "alternate" pages. They're not "exactly duplicates" or a different "sort order" they're more specific presentations of the same information based on the specific service and sub-services offered, so they're "alternate" versions of the page.
How do you convey the message that all parameter-less pages are canonical but, uhm, some are more canonical than others?
That's where I was saying I think declaring the parameterless page as the canonical on the pages with the parameters is the way to go. Or in other words: I would have the canonical element on the pages with the parameters "point to" the version without the parameters as the canonical version of the specific language variation.
We have "rambled" a bit though, so I can see how there would be some confusion.