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I have a mini-website that has one unique webpage that talks about a product. The current existing links for this website are:

www.example.com
www.example.com/keywords-important-for-webpage

Both pages show the same content, only the second page has a better URL. I want Google to index and show my link with keywords in the search-results instead of the homepage. So I added a canonical ref. on the homepage that redirects to the other page with a better URL-structure.

But now, Google has indexed the homepage but not the URL with the keywords. So exactly the opposite of what I wanted.

Is it not possible to add a canonical URL to the homepage? If it is, what could be the problem?

  • the homepage that redirects to the other page if that is the case then Google won't index the homepage... can you confirm that you mean that example.com/ 301 redirects to /keywords. – Simon Hayter Jun 25 '14 at 21:58
  • @bybe Maybe I should have formulated my sentence better. I meant that I use a canonical url and not a 301 redirect. Sorry for the confusion. – Noob Jun 25 '14 at 22:28
  • Canonical links help Google establish the master page, however this is not a rule set in stone and in this case unless you haven't waited at least 2-4weeks then it's likely Google prefers the root domain since canonical links don't prevent pages not being indexed. Also it should be noted that SEF URLS are not a requirement since Google has many ways of establishing what the page is about and nowadays branding vs rich keyword domains is preferred. Also most people don't look at URL when using Google just the Title and Description ;) – Simon Hayter Jun 25 '14 at 22:45
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If you have a one page site you should host the content on the root of the site and not try to stuff more keywords in the URL by using a second page. Use a Title for the Home Page that uses the keywords you are targeting and proper on page SEO such as H1 tags and keyword rich content that is not spammy or written to try to only target the Google Bot.

If you're going to do this you should use a 301 redirect from the root to the subfolder instead of just relying on canonicals. When using canonical tags Google will still index both pages and decide which it wants to display. It's not a guarantee that it will be the one you want and if both pages are indexed could take a while (my experience is 3 to 6 months) for the unintended page to fall out of the SERPs.

More info on the difference between 301 and Canonicals can be found at this Search Engine Watch article: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2288690/How-and-When-to-Use-301-Redirects-vs.-Canonical

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  • Kyle- Welcome to Pro Webmasters on StackExchange. This is a great group of folks. Nice answer! One up-vote on the way. – closetnoc Jun 25 '14 at 22:19
  • Thanks @closetnoc. I've been living most my life over on SO but decided I should get active over here and actually answer questions. :) – K Finley Jun 25 '14 at 22:20
  • Thank you for the provided link. What do you suggest? Is it worth to use a 301 redirect for this reason or is it better to remove the second page and only keep the home page? – Noob Jun 25 '14 at 22:25
  • I am actually semi-retired with core businesses not in the IT industry but I just could not stay away from the computers. I enjoy it too much! I especially like helping people and used to do charity hosting (when web hosting was a part of my consulting practice) and loved walking people through the entire process. I missed it so I started helping here where I can. – closetnoc Jun 25 '14 at 22:25
  • IMHO you should keep the single page and focus on the content and other on site SEO items. I would consider redirect to a subfolder with a keyword stuffed URL as trying to trick Google and you can't do that. What would be more worth your time is creating a few sub pages that support the main page. This would give your site more content. But as always make sure that content is quality and not just fluff / spam. – K Finley Jun 25 '14 at 23:01

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