4

I was wondering if it is possible for Google to disregard the canonical tag, if for example they decide it is wrongly put based on behavioral data.

On my blog's individual blog posts there is a canonical tag for the www.example.com/blog/details. In my opinion it should not be there, and I've put request to our Engineering team for removal some time ago. Interestingly, all blog posts are indexed and got decent amount of organic traffic despite the tag.

What do you think? Could it be that Google would disregard the tag based on usage data from let's say GA?

  • A canonical tag won't prevent Google from crawling the links on a page. I put a canonical from all the pages on my dev server to the live site. Despite Googlebot not indexing the pages with the canonicals, it still crawled the entire site. As long as there are no canonicals on the blog posts themselves, the canonical on the the details page probably isn't hurting much. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 14 '17 at 19:36
6

Early 2018 update to Google Search Console will now tell you if it's overridden a page with a different canonical:

Google chose different canonical than user: This URL is marked as canonical for a set of pages, but Google thinks another URL makes a better canonical. Because we consider this page a duplicate, we did not index it; only the canonical page is indexed. We recommend that you explicitly mark this page as a duplicate of the canonical URL. To learn which page is the canonical, click the table row to run an info: query for this URL, which should list its canonical page.

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203


It is definitely possible. Here is a source from Google Webmaster Central blog:

the canonical designation might be disregarded by search engines

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2013/04/5-common-mistakes-with-relcanonical.html

(Also note that Google has stated categorically that GA does not factor into any Google rankings.)

  • 1
    The language I recall is that Google takes canonical links as a "strong hint" which means they can and will disregard them if they seem to be wrong. – adam-asdf Feb 14 '17 at 18:56
  • 1
    On the other hand, there have been cases where a site was misconfigured to canonical every page to the the home page. That reportedly kills all traffic. Even in some egregiously wrong cases, Google seem to take canonical as a very strong signal. Here is an article that describes some of what I've heard about: gsqi.com/marketing-blog/dangerous-rel-canonical-problems – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 14 '17 at 19:40
  • @Stephen Looks like it'll be much easier to spot these problems with the new Search Console, see edit – grg Jan 24 '18 at 19:32
  • Google's new search console index report is great. I'm still wrapping my head around some of the reasons they give for indexing or not indexing some of my pages. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 24 '18 at 19:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.