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I have a website available via www.mydomain.com that is also available via svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom. The content is 100% identical, it's a mirror.

I don't want search engines to know about svr7464z.vps.hostingcompany.com and probably they never will but just in case they do I want to avoid duplicate content issues.

Unfortunately, blocking the offending URL is not possible and neither are 301-redirects.

So it seems rel=canonical should come to my rescue, but I'm confused where to place it.

Do I have to place the tags only on the svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom pages or also on the pages available via the official domain www.mydomain.com?

Also, do the tags have to be different based on the page?

For example:

For: http://svr7464z.vps.hostingcompany.com
Tag: link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mydomain.com"

For: http://svr7464z.vps.hostingcompany.com/about
Tag: link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mydomain.com/about"

For: http://svr7464z.vps.hostingcompany.com/contact
Tag: link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mydomain.com/contact"

  • Why are 301 redirects out of the question? Do you not have the ability to create a .htaccess file? – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 13 '14 at 10:30
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Canoninical tags do have to be different per page. Pointing all your canonical tags at the home page is a mistake that will lead to Google only indexing your home page.

You may place the canonical tag on either the alternate pages only, or on both the alternate and www.mydomain.com pages. You may place the canonical tag on both versions because self referencing canonical tags are OK. As Google's Maile Ohye says:

Yes, it's absolutely okay to have a self-referential rel="canonical". It won't harm the system and additionally, by including a self-reference you better ensure that your mirrors have a rel=”canonical” to you.

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You place the canonical tag in the header of the pages on svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom.

So why place it at svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom? When Google (or another search engine) wants to crawl svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom, it sees the canonical tag and it's like 'Hey, I should crawl www.mydomain.com, not this website!'.

For example:

<html>
<head>
<link rel="canonical" href="www.mydomain.com" />
</head>
</html>

There's just one more thing I would like to add. You say:

The content is 100% identical, it's a mirror.

But how can you be so sure? When a VirtualHost isn't used, svr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom and www.mydomain.com are probably the same website, which is reached through those (^) two domain names.

  • Perfect, and would I place the same tag on ALL pages or <link rel="canonical" href="www.mydomain.com" /> in the root and <link rel="canonical" href="www.mydomain.com/about" /> for http://vr7464z.vps.hostingcompanycom/about ? – WPRookie82 Sep 13 '14 at 9:35
  • @WPRookie82 I don't understand your comment, rephrase please. – William Edwards Sep 13 '14 at 9:38
  • I edited my original post to explain better. – WPRookie82 Sep 13 '14 at 9:43
  • @WPRookie82 OK, thanks :) To be honest I'm not sure, hopefully someone else can answer that question. – William Edwards Sep 13 '14 at 9:45

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