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So to give an overview of my application, I will have pages of various businesses (parents) and then each business will have additional pages of each business location (children). The plan is for parent pages to have average stats of all locations under that business. And since a lot of content will appear duplicate (other than the numbers), we think it would be appropriate to have rel=canonical on each child point to the parent.

However, I want to make sure the children pages are indexed and searchable via search engines as well because they'll have important info such as each locations address, phone, and unique stats.

So I would like a confirmation that this is a good idea to do and that rel=canonical won't prevent those pages from being indexed.

  • This is not the way a rel="canonical" is meant to work. It indicates 1:1 duplicates. Your business pages are all different from your parent pages. Your solution would surely lead to your canonicals to be ignored. – Seb Jan 30 '17 at 20:07
  • @Seb so you're saying even if majority of content is identical (say 80-90%), it's not considered duplicate and would not need rel=canonical? I was mainly concerned not to get those child pages hit with a duplicate content penalty from Google. – zen Jan 30 '17 at 20:22
  • You say that you have multiple pages with different information that should say they are the same as one single page. Your case is like category pages or maybe tag pages that only show teaser content of their subpages. You should think of individualising the category pages instead of canonicals. – Seb Jan 30 '17 at 20:25
  • @Seb Can you explain what you meant by "individualizing the category pages"? The thing is many of the children pages will have exact same content except the address/phone number. Many will also have different stats and content will be slightly different. But I'm just not sure if address and phone number is enough to consider the page unique. – zen Jan 31 '17 at 0:25
  • according to Google, even a different price tag makes two pages unique. – Seb Jan 31 '17 at 8:00
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A canonical is meant to handle duplicates. Differing telephone numbers, price tags or alike make two pages unique, even though they ma not be interpreted as high quality content.

As far as I understand you have a kind of an overview page A describing a service/busines. This page links to pages b, c, and d.

All of them contain either 80% of page A + 20% unique content OR page A contains 80% content that is assembled by the contents of pages b, c, and d.

Let's have it a bit more visual: the colours represent content. Same color means, same content. Example structure of your pages

In either cases a canonical is not the weapon of choice as it only indicate a relation like d == e.

Page A is unique. Also are pages b, c and d. Only e (built just for clarification) is an exact copy of d and therefore we can use a canonical. The decision in which direction it has to pint ( e > d or d > e is up to you)

[…] we think it would be appropriate to have rel=canonical on each child point to the parent.

If you put a canonical on b, c and d pointing to A only A would be interpreted as the unique page that should be indexed and ranked. Further, the 20% unique content on b, c and d that differs on all pages may lead to the canonical being ignored.

I want to make sure the children pages are indexed and searchable via search engines as well because they'll have important info such as each locations address, phone, and unique stats.

Therefore you do not need a canonical you just have to make sure they can be crawled and indexed by linking them properly.

You can improve the importance of all pages by adding further individual information. At the end of the day this is the way a lot of category/product pages in shops are structured.

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  • Ok sounds good. I will try going with no canonicals to start with. Thanks for your help and the clarification. – zen Jan 31 '17 at 13:31

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