Google: if it seems wrong, we will ignore the canonical tag

If you do not use the canonical tag correctly, your search engine rankings might drop. In a Google webmaster hangout, Google’s John Mueller said that Google will ignore the canonical tag if there is an obvious error:

“If tons of canonical URLs are pointing to one common page, is that harmful? No, not necessarily.

The one situation where I have seen that be problematic, is if all of the URLs have a canonical to the homepage of the website. Then essentially our systems realize that something is probably wrong with how rel canonical is implemented here and we will probably try to ignore that set up on those pages.

But if you have a lot of different parameter URLs, and tracking URLs for different tracking sources, or have session IDs or anything like that where you have tons of URLs but actually just always the same content and can be simplified to a cleaner URL, then that’s a perfect use of rel canonical.”

You can view the video here:

How to check your canonical tags

It’s good to check the canonical tags on your web pages to make sure that search engines can index your website correctly. The website audit tool in SEOprofiler helps you to do that. If you haven’t done it yet, create your free SEOprofiler account now:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "".