Google: you can use the rel=canonical attribute if the pages are equivalent

In a Google Webmaster Help thread, Google’s John Mueller explained that your pages do not have to be identical if you want to redirect page A to page B:

“If these pages are equivalent, even if they’re not 100% identical, I’d use a rel=canonical here. With that, all of the signals (such as links to those pages) that we have for the ‘set’ of URLs will be combined in your preferred version.

Using a noindex on the other hand would result in only one page being indexed, with all the other pages from that set – and any associated signals we might have – dropping out.”

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".

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