guys. I'm considering a complete overhaul of my site, and I have a dilemma. I have multiple ways of getting to the same place, i.e.:

Home > Page 1 > Page 2 > Page 3


Home > Page 3

and possibly even

Home > Some Page > Page 3

It makes sense to do it this way logically (because of my categories), but what should I do about the pages? Of course, I don't want have duplicate content and get smacked by Google, but I don't want to the user to lose their place in the hierarchy/breadcrumbs.

Is this a good time to use the rel="canonical" tag? The only difference on the three pages would be the breadcrumbs or menus, depending upon how the user navigates to the page. I may do the rebuild in CodeIgniter, in which case I could use routes. Would that be the best option, here? I just don't want to confuse users, get smacked by Google, sacrifice usability, etc.

Thanks, guys!

  • 1
    Does the URL of page 3 change or is it just the breadcrumbs that are different? – JCL1178 Feb 11 '13 at 2:08
  • Yeah, the URL would likely be different in each case, despite the content on the page being the same. – Billy Pilgrim Feb 11 '13 at 7:13

You will want to use rel="canonical" if the URL is different but the content is the same. At the very least rel="canonical" will not hurt your SEO value with Google. The only choice will then be which URL is the canonical one.

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  • That's kind of what I figured. Thanks for the answer! :) – Billy Pilgrim Feb 11 '13 at 23:19

I would recommend putting the path that the user has traversed in the users cookies. Then build the breadcrumbs based on that cookie. Then there is one URL, not three. Googlebot sees a version without breadcrumbs (or with default breadcrumbs) since it comes in without a cookie.

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