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I have not so SEO friendly url structure in my internal navigation of website(some technical challenges) but marked each of the page with SEO friendly canonical(through CMS) and these canonicals are there in sitemap as well

To give an example, from

www.example.com

I go to -

www.example/123

which is marked as canonical of

www.example/friendliness/123

and "www.example/friendliness/123" is there in sitemap as well.

So my question is, Is this sufficient or do I need change internal linking (www.example/123 in above example) as well?

Anyways I have seen people marking url's as canonical to ignore query parameters so it should behave in the same way

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It is always better to use the canonical URLs in links whenever possible. If you don't use canonical URLs in your internal linking:

  • Users won't see the canonical URLs when navigating your site
  • Users will create external links to your non-canonical URLs
  • Search engine bots will see both your canonical and non-canonical URLs causing twice as much crawling as necessary.
  • Despite your canonical tags and sitemap, Google may ignore your canonicals and choose to index your non-friendly URLs. The canonical tag and sitemap are signals about which URL you prefer, but so is which URL you link to.

I would recommend using consistent non-friendly URLs if you can't change your internal linking. Friendly URLs don't actually help SEO that much. Keywords in the URL path have almost no impact on rankings in Google these days. There are three advantages to "friendly" URLs, but they are minor:

  • The biggest advantage of friendly URLs is that they force you to think about using a single URL for a piece of content. Without them, it is tempting to use multiple parameters in an unspecified order show content on your website. Since you are using a single ID for the URL, your alternate URL already has this advantage and there is no reason to use the friendly URL for this reason.
  • Keywords in the URL path help users when a link to your site is pasted into a forum or email. The words in the URL let users know what to expect when they click.
  • Keywords in the URL path can be shown in Google search results when Google shows the URL under the title. Google may add bold to any keywords there which can draw users attention. Not having keywords there can be a disadvantage. However, putting keywords in the URL is not the only way to solve it. You can also use breadcrumb schema to show a path into your site with keywords in that place in the search results.
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