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Self referencing canonicals

     
6:41 pm on Mar 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I know this has been a topic many times, but I'd like to look at it from a different angle than most. Most searches and threads have turned up the answers "why not?" or "it doesn't hurt" when it comes to adding self-referencing canonical tags.

My response would be well we have to spend the time and money to have it done. So it can hurt.

In my particular case, I personally built a full CMS. I set it up as well as I could using 301 redirects when page's urls change. Pages don't use query strings. Properly done sitemap. www is always added to domains if not present. Someone in our SEO department read something online and interpreted it as "search engines want you to always have canonical tags on every page." I asked to see the article and the author came to the standard conclusion of "I do it because... why not?"

No where have I found any evidence that a site will be penalized for not having a canonical tag on every page. So in our case I don't think it's worth our time to go through all of our clients sites and add the tags. We would be having lesser experienced employees going in and messing with the code to do it. I just feel like there is way more that could go wrong than could help.

Does anyone have any for sure evidence it helps?
6:42 pm on Mar 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Also the way they will be doing it is INCLUDING the query string

www.website.com/page?fake=1 will be canonical to www.website.com/page?fake=1
www.website.com/page?fake=2 will be canonical to www.website.com/page?fake=2
7:29 pm on Mar 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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any request for http://www.example.com/page?fake=1 should get a 301 redirect to or link rel canonical to http://www.example.com/page unless the content served for those URLs is actually different.

[edited by: phranque at 8:02 pm (utc) on Mar 31, 2015]

7:50 pm on Mar 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Someone in our SEO department read something online and interpreted it as "search engines want you to always have canonical tags on every page."

I have good news for you. Next fiscal year, you will be able to reduce your payroll significantly.

What on earth is the point of "canonical" if a given page (that is, a physical set of content) can only be reached by one URL?
1:27 pm on Apr 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@phranque
totally agree, however the powers that be don't want to spend the time to do it right. But that actually makes sense for us since we have never had an issue with bad query strings being indexed. When it becomes an issue, we will address it.

@lucy
That is my question exactly. But people here are very strong in there opinion that always having a canonical tag is rewarded. I personally think we will be penalized for having it when it's not necessary since it slows down loading speed and reduces code to content ratio. And I know google is all about that kind of thing.