What’s this about?

This is an extract from TWIS SEO News & Updates 25 August 2017.

Read about how Google picks a single canonical to index and how to avoid confusing Google with incorrect or inconsistent canonicals.

Click here to contact me if you are having issues with canonical URLs or redirecting URLs properly.

#SEO #SEONews #Google #CanonicalURLs #Indexation #Redirects

Google Picks One Canonical

Summary – Google Canonical Picking:

  • There are some very silly webmasters out there, who do very silly things.
  • These include using a canonical instead of a 301 redirect (bad), or pointing to a canonical which has very different content on it (also bad).
  • A very special case asked about recently involved declaring a canonical which pointed to a URL, which 301 redirected back to a query-strung version of the original URL.
  • Google says that they pick one and use that for surfacing in the index, which is both helpful, and not at the same time.

Google Picks One Canonical To Index

Actions to take – Google Canonical Picking:

  1. Avoid confusing Google with inconsistent, or incorrect canonicals. It can take a while for Google to re-crawl and update its index to fix your error.
  2. Ensure your canonicals are not used in place of 301 redirects. Use a 301 redirect wherever possible.
  3. Ensure your canonicals do indeed point to the correct, canonical version of your URLs.
  4. Click here to contact me if you are having issues with canonical URLs or redirecting URLs properly.

Discussion – Google Canonical Picking:

I don’t quite know why canonicals and variant URLs cause so many problems to web developers and webmasters. They are quite logical and not hugely difficult.

They only appear to be difficult when the web developer is not logical, or cannot grasp the concept, or, finally, they use a CMS which cannot be beaten into shape to provide a sensible canonical schema.

Just to remind people, a canonical should not be used in place of a redirect. If you canonical to a different URL, it should be pretty much an exact copy of the one you are pointing from. Wherever possible, use a 301 redirect in preference to a canonical.

More info – Google Canonical Picking:

Return to Top

The State of SEO Mid-2017 Released

The State of SEO Mid 2017

We recently released the super-exciting The State of SEO in mid-2017. Read it now.

Return to Top


  • Despite webmasters’ best efforts to confuse Google, Google only picks a single canonical URL to index / surface from the the index.
  • This is good if they pick the right canonical, not so good if they don’t.
  • Of course, it webmasters got their canonicals sorted in the first place…
  • Read The State of SEO in mid-2017.
  • Read about how Google’s Mobile First Index is not Mobile Friendly.
  • Finally, get your content ranking well on Google by starting to understand Find Crawl Index.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

Return to Top