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Invalid Canonical Urls


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5 replies to this topic

#1 eminentstyle

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:56 AM

What are the implications of invalid canonicals? Are they ignored? Is this an issue or will Google (and other engines) just ignore it?

A little bit of back story, we are running Google Content Experiments comparing one page against another but we are constrained on this site to an antiquated bespoke CMS where we have very little control.

We have added the canonical reference with a variable to the template but dont have anyway to check that the reference is set on a per page basis. On the pages where the canonical is no explicitly set we have the following:

<link rel="canonical" href="{canonical}" />

Is this an issue or will Google (and other engines) just ignore it?


Edited by torka, 22 April 2013 - 08:51 AM.
Removed unnecessary link


#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:32 AM

They should ignore an invalid canonical reference but both Google and Bing have hinted in the past that screwing up your canonicalization doesn't necessarily fall into benign areas.  It could be that they are still documenting cases of unpredicted malformed canonicalization, and as with all software if the code doesn't anticipate what is being fed to it then it's hard to know what will happen until it happens.



#3 eminentstyle

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:42 AM

Thanks very much for the reply Michael. In that case, to be on the safe side, I think it may be prudent to set the canonicals on the other pages then to be on the safe side. Not the biggest site in the world but still not a job I am looking forward to (antiquated cms again).

 

For the record, even if there is only one page with the content on the site there is nothing wrong with using valid canonicals on that page? Pointing to itself as it were?

e.g. <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.site.com/page.html" />


#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:57 PM

I think Duane Forrester of Bing said last year that they will pay less attention to the canonicals if they see a lot of that.  Otherwise, it doesn't hurt anything.



#5 Mikl

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:04 AM

For what its worth, Google have just published an article on invalid uses of rel="canonical". I'm not sure if it answers the specific question posted here, but it might be worth a look. See:

 

http://googlewebmast...lcanonical.html

 

Mike



#6 eminentstyle

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:48 AM

Thanks for the links and replies Mikl and MM. Interesitng reading.






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