Google’s Martin Splitt, and Rachel Costello of Builtvisibile, discussed canonicalization in their recent episode of SEO Mythbusting.
Some question and answer from the videos are:
Canonicalization is not a topical grouping
It does not mean grouping pages of a similar topic, it means grouping pages of the same content or almost the same content.
The most common canonicalization myths
Canonicalization is believed to be directive and can be used as a redirect.
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Is canonicalization a directive or a signal for Google Search?
Search Engine follows the directive instruction automatically, whereas canonicalization is not directive. It is a signal. The signal means a hint for search engines, which may be used or not.
“Putting a canonical tag on pages that are not the same is not going to work. Putting a canonical tag on each of the pages that are exactly the same is also not going to work.
It is a signal. It helps us identify what we want to canonicalize but it doesn’t say you have to use this.”
Should canonicalization be used as a redirect?
No, it is not redirect. Canonical tags are used with the same or nearly the same content is posted at multiple places. These tags make Google judge better to which page has to show in the search results.
What are the actual factors for duplication and deduplication?
“Duplication and deduplication is actually done without much human interaction. We do content fingerprinting, we look at things like what is the gist of it really, what’s the information here, how does it relate to the site structure, what does it say in the sitemap.
So we’re looking at a bunch of different factors but they’re mostly technical factors.”
Site’s preference for the canonical URL vs user’s preference
Google always shows a page which is better for the user rather than the site’s preferred canonical page. For instance, if the user is located in Italy and the canonical tag is pointing English version, google will show the Italian version of the page.
Canonicalization vs unique content on pages with a canonical tag
The page with very much unique content is pointless for Google, however, Google accept the site’s preferred canonical page with small unique content.