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We launch several versions of our PWA on URL's like:

https://editor.construct.net/ (always points to latest stable version)
https://editor.construct.net/r141-2/
https://editor.construct.net/r141/

Our users launch these version via our website:

https://www.construct.net/en/make-games/releases/beta/r141

All the editor.construct.net/* PWA pages have the canonical URL:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.construct.net">

With the idea being linking to these versions passes on benefit to main website.

Our website homepage has the following two URLS currently:

https://www.construct.net/en (English version)
https://www.construct.net/fr (French version)

My questions are:

  • Is pointing the canonical URL to our homepage like this a reasonable thing to do? Should we consider pointing them to their respective release pages?
  • Should the canonical URL on the PWA point to the /en version of the website? It only directs to /fr if the browser language is French
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The content between your game editor and your home page is not the same. Therefore, a canonical tag is not appropriate. Google ignores canonical tags when it sees that the pages are not nearly identical.

I would suggest that you do want your editor to be indexed in search engines. If somebody searches for "construct.net editor", you want them to be sent directly to your editor. It would confuse users to send them to your home page first. Many of them would not find the link from your home page to click to the editor.

It would be appropriate to use canonical tags between different versions of your editor. Since the latest stable version of the editor is always on the home page of the subdomain, it would make sense to point the canonical tags for all the versions to that.

If you want to get SEO value back out of your editor, you should include links on your editor page to your main site. It is very common to have the entire menu from your main site with up to 20 navigation links copied into a subdomain like this.

To see if you canonical tags are working, you should add both your main domain and your editor subdomain as separate properties to Google Search Console. Google will then allow you to inspect the URLs which will report which URLs it chooses to index. If Google thinks you have it wrong it will report "Google chose different canonical than user."

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Canonical tags are only used for linking various versions of a page (such as translated version) back to the authoritative (canonical) version of the page. However this only works where the content is very much identical. What you are attempting to do have ranking from the release pages instead applied to the homepage won't work in this manner. Even if the release pages all very closely similar to each other from a page basis they sound like the are fairly different to the homepage. What you will wind up having is your individual release pages will tend to rank higher for most key searches that what your homepage will rank.

As for languages the decision is largely your's as it depends on the way your site operates and what your key demographic is as to which language you make canonical for your site. Traditionally English is the canonical language of most websites as it is largely considered an international language however once again it depends on your target demographic. If the vast majority of your end users are French then it may make sense to make the French version of your site the canonical version and make the english version the translated version. The other aspect of this is that you should add rel="alternative" tags to whichever pages are the canonical pages linking to your translated pages. What this will do is advise Google of the translated pages that are out there and when someone is using that languages Google search to find your site it will tend to prefer directing them to the translated version which matches the language the end user is seeking.

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Is pointing the canonical URL to our homepage like this a reasonable thing to do? Should we consider pointing them to their respective release pages?

  • If your release versions contain information that is beneficial to both the users as well as for your business, the respective release pages canonical are good.
  • If your updated homepage contains the information that users and your business need, then homepage for the root index serves better. (Users can check release versions for the changelog)

Should the canonical URL on the PWA point to the /en version of the website? It only directs to /fr if the browser language is French

  • If you have more visitors who use /en version of the website, then having canonical URL to the /en version will be good and likewise.

Suggestions:

We use canonical to point to the important and updated content which users would like to see. If your selection is correct, Search Engines will definitely choose the same URL rather than seeing something as "Google selected Canonical URL: different URL".

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