Canonicalization Issues – Why yes and why no

One of my colleague asked me to help him with URL Canonicalization. I had mentioned about Canonicalization (both at domain level and URL level earlier), I think I did it in company Intranet. I will find it and add it to this post. He also referred me to a post where it was mentioned. I generally end up writing big comments on various blogs, so decided to post it here instead.

Redirection from /index.html to /. Example if someone types http://www.idealwebtools.com/index.html we will take them to http://www.idealwebtools.com/.

Why I might not do it

  • Reason1: It is very much natural
  • Reason2: Almost 99% of the website will never do it, so it is a problem at google’s end, they need to solve it.
  • Reason 3: Very important, when a person is coming to index.html I am redirecting it to / which is making my customer wait.

Why I might do it?

  • Reason 1: Only from links point of view and to help Google. SEO benefits (may be)
  • Reason 2: Technically both these files can be different too.

SEO advices from Matt Cutts
He says google does it work but still fails sometimes.

Q: What is a canonical url? Do you have to use such a weird word, anyway?
A: Sorry that it’s a strange word; that’s what we call it around Google. Canonicalization is the process of picking the best url when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. For example, most people would consider these the same urls:

* www.example.com
* example.com/
* www.example.com/index.html
* example.com/home.asp

But technically all of these urls are different. A web server could return completely different content for all the urls above. When Google “canonicalizes” a url, we try to pick the url that seems like the best representative from that set.

More at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/
and http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/canonicalization-update/

Let me think more carefully about it. What is your opinion, should we do it?

Some helpful links

  1. Master guide for canonicalization by JD (he is a gem, he helped me a lot with htaccess issues) –
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/apache/3208525.htm

Some tests

  1. Linking to mattcutts blog using different URL, first with id =2
  2. Second with id=3
  3. Second with id=4
  4. Second with id=5
  5. Linking to with index.php
  6. Linking to with index.php and id =2
  7. Linking to with index.php and id =3

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