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Canonical tags on all the pages of a website?



12:01 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I have a doubt. Do you recommend to add canonical tags to every page of the website?

For example:


<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.domain.com/category1/">

I mean canonical tags to the same url.


2:17 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I remember a similar issue with a friend of mine which writes in an online newspaper. They used that method, put a canonical on each article they wrote. I don't know if this may be useful, because anyone can link to anything to establish the original one, however he told me that this technique worked fine for them, making google crawling their site faster and more frequently.


3:15 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

thanks mememax for the reply. I am seeing that wordpress puts in every url the canonical tag.


3:28 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

the problem is that it may be redundant but I don't think it will hurt you in any way.


3:35 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

yes I think the same. But wordpress is using canonicals in every page.


3:46 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I read that while it may appear redundant it may be useful in the case you:
  • use query strings or dynamic pages in the url to establish what is the original one
  • create Printer Friendly page, which will have a different url
  • Feedback, Pingback or comments append a URL
  • someone scrapes your content, so a canonical will be added (well not sure about this one)


6:19 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I never understood the relatively common doubt about this. Maybe because people are thinking that the canonical link "is" a 301 redirect - it's not, but Google often treats it that way when a non-canonical URL is requested.

If someone reaches a URL that is also considered the canonical address for that bit of content, then presence of a canonical link element is a simple confirmation. If the URL was varied in some way (and on most servers there are many ways to vary a URL and still get the same content) then the canonical link is doing some heavier lifting.

I would say it's valuable to stress test your canonical link script before going live - just in case the configuration is doing something funny. Incorrect canonical link tags can generate extended problems.


That said, I also realize that Bing's webmaster communicator Duane Forrester said that Bing DOES consider it an error for a URL to contain a self-referring canonical link. However, Microsoft has been trying to rewrite standard web technology for many years, introducing their own vocabulary terms, teaching soft-404s in their manuals, etc. etc. In earlier versions of the IIS server it was very hard to figure out 301 versus 302 redirects - because the GUI didn't explain it.


10:08 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I use canonical tags on every page on my web site. I've had issues with a staging server getting crawled and indexed before. I've had issues with index.html vs /. I've had issues with added query strings. The canonical tag on every page prevents these from being an SEO problem. I'd recommend the practice.


10:29 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Could you guys confirm something for me that relates to deadsea's last comment?

I'm not very savvy about the canonical tag, but there is one problem I am constantly running into with most of my clients and want to be sure I handle right from now on.

The home page is site.com but in their menu or even sometimes buried and hard to find on links in internal pages. the link to home goes to site.com/index.html

I try to get the designer to change all the home links to site.com but sometimes they miss some. Plus I'm afraid there may be links out there to /index.html

So is it appropriate and helpful to put a canonical tag on every page of the site just as a precaution? Or is that somehow a bad idea?



10:59 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The only reason that it would be a bad idea is if you mess the canonical tags up. They are problematic to QA because they are not in any way visible to users. I canonical tag on every page is a good idea unless the tags are messed up like the following examples.

* Every page canonicalized to the home page rather than to the canonical version of itself
* Canonical tags that point to 404 pages
* Misspellings in canonical tags

I messed mine up when I first implemented them by canonicalizing all the non-English content to the English site. I fixed it with a day and it didn't end up hurting traffic.

I've heard horror stories of website with mis-applied canonical tags that don't find the problem for a month and lose lots of traffic.

Its a good idea to put them on your site, unless you mess them up. Get a second and third set of eyes on them in the source code both on a staging server and post-launch.


3:57 am on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I personally use/recommend canonical tag on all pages of site and have never had run into any trouble with Google.
Its just that QA needs to done to avoid any issues as mentioned by @deadsea above.


6:29 pm on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you guys!


11:15 pm on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Put them on every page and check your Webmastertools account regularly. If you get any wrong, they'll turn up in the 404's section very quickly.

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