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rel="canonical" much more than a "strong hint"

6:07 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One of the answers on Google support forum implies that Google treats rel="canonical" much more than a strong hint. Basically, the webmaster was getting "Redirect error" reported on WMT because they had implemented 301 redirect from page A to page B, where page B had a canonical tag specified back to page A.

JohnMu: [google.com ]

Coming back to your thread, one thing I see here is that you're using a rel=canonical pointing to a URL that points back to the original URL. Looking at your example:

A) http://www.example.com/?topic=10
.. contains <link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/?topic=10"/>

B) http://example.com/?topic=10
... redirects back to A)

For our systems, this looks like a cyclic redirect, making it hard for us to follow and pick the right URL to actually index.

One way to resolve that could be to use the final URL as the preferred canonical one.

So Google is much less lenient towards canonical tag errors than what they said in their original Google blog post [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com ].
6:13 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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votes: 0

Thank you for that. We had a thread last summer where we explored this issue too. Why Are There "Canonical Disasters" - Is Google Messing Up? [webmasterworld.com]

It's good to hear more from Google on this topic. The big takeaway is "Don't be casual about the canonical".

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