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Our URLs will be created by the user's content. Eg:

www.example.com/bar-1234/i-went-to-baz-4321

The "i went to baz" portion is user generated, included with the aim of being helpful to the person viewing the URL and also to possibly contain useful keywords for search engines.

However, the string that forms that portion is user editable. So it could become:

www.example.com/bar-1234/we-drove-to-baz-4321

AFAICT the canonical URL should be:

www.example.com/bar-1234/4321

The string portion is discarded by the controller, which means that there's potential for duplicate content from limitless URLs!

So, my question is, does it matter if my canonical URL is 'non SEO friendly'? It seems logical to me to provide search engines with the "id only" version of the URL which is always consistent, but the canonical URL is the one that appears in search results, so is there any benefit from trying to use more 'SEO friendly' URLs?

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    It is fine if canonical links change from time to time as long as use the canonical tag or redirect to the canonical version. This site and WordPress set the canonical URL to the full URL with keywords. The Drupal CMS takes the approach of the permalink being only the ID. Sep 15 '17 at 9:24
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An url should not change. It's the basis of a good seo url strategy. Once said that you sometime change it. So how to do it ?

if you change change the slug, the canonical url should change also acordingly. But the canonical should be the same than the url linked from other part of the website.

Normaly an url should be the same than the slug cause the canonical feature is just a patch to help google. (Google in the Search google sometimes said that it selected an other url than the one you specified as the canonical one)

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