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Should large corporations use rel=canonical on every page?

Should large corporations use rel=canonical on every page? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: All right, Terry Cox, from Orlando Florida asks, “In regards to the new canonicalization tag, does it make sense for large corporations to consider placing that tag on every page due to marketing tracking codes and large levels of duplicate URLs like faceted pages and load balancing servers?” So, this is a great question, should you put the canonical tag on every single page? Well, there’s a short term answer and a long term answer. The short term answer is I would probably say, not right now. Take a little bit of time, study your site architecture; think about URL and normalization, beautification, whatever you want to call it. Think about the structure of URLs that you want to have and take, you know, a few weeks, or even a few months, a couple of months to sort of assess where you want to go. I don’t think you should just throw the canonical tag on every single page on your site immediately and just start wringing, you know, moving around, because it is a powerful tool and people do have the ability to sort of shoot themselves in the foot. So, on the plus side, we’ve seen a quarter of a million pages show up within just a few days. Where people are using this canonicalization tag, which is fantastic. It’s good to see the traction and the adoption move very quickly. On the downside, we have seen one company, a very large company, a computer company, I won’t call them out by name, where they had a Homepage and their Homepage was doing a redirect and they also have the canonical tag and the canonical tag pointed to a page that we hadn’t crawled at all. And so, you know, those sorts of cases can be very difficult to try to do the right thing and we do the right thing. But, you know, it can take us a couple of days to sort of sort it out, or go and find that URL and crawl it. So, I wouldn’t just jump in the deep end of the pool without doing some planning. The longer term answer is, it doesn’t hurt to have this on every single page of your site. Ideally, you’d find other ways to solve the canonicalization but, it doesn’t hurt to sort of say on every single page, this page maps to this canonicalized, very pretty, very preferred version of this URL. But what you want to do is, you want to make sure that it’s absolute URLs; ideally it goes in one hop. It’s a logical system that you designed; you haven’t just jumped in and started to play around with. I don’t see any harm in having that sort of thing, because we’ll just follow those, what we almost think of is mini 301 redirects within that site and we’ll try to canonicalize according to those suggestions. We don’t guarantee that we’ll do it, but it should work just fine with no problems. So, feel free to do that, but, you know, take some time, and plan it out a little bit.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: