Make it clear to Google which URL you want to be indexed – Alexa Flash Briefing Skill (SEO Tips)
Hello, thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
So most sites have some type of accidental content duplication where Google needs to pick which URL to show in search results. This becomes even more of an urgent issue on larger sites where the CMS systems create all sorts of duplicate versions. It divides your link equity, potentially impacts your analytics (I’ve seen some instances where Google Analytics code was only firing on one version of the content, not the other) and wastes your crawl budget (which is something that you want to control on bigger sites.
Years ago, Google rolled out a solution to this issue called a canonical tag. You’d put the tag on page B (the page you don’t want indexed) pointing to page A, and put the tag on page A pointing to page A and you’d be set.
The challenge is that the canonical tag is often not implemented correctly, and if the signals are confusing, Google just ignores the tag.
Recently at the Google Webmaster Conference, a Googler put the record straight around which signals they use to determine which URL to put in Google search and they are:
An effort to determine which site owns the URL
UX signals like speed and security
Signals that the webmaster has put in place which includes internal links, 301s, canonical tags and sitemaps.
So it’s a bit more complicated than webmaster thought. This means that if you want to control which URL you want indexed, you really need to check the box on all of those signals. You’ll see in Google Webmaster Tools under the Coverage – Excluded report which URLs where Google has “Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user”.
Thanks for listening come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.