Questions about rel=canonical

Ian Lurie

I’m already getting questions about the new rel=canonical standard. And I have several of my own. I’m going to put them into a post here. If you have your own, leave ’em in the comment thread and I’ll move them into the post:

  1. Shouldn’t we just add link rel=canonical to every single page on our sites? Wikia, which Google cites in their example, appears to have done that.
  2. How much link authority will the canonical tag pass? 100%? 90%? Less?
  3. How will each search engine support the new standard? What differences will there be?
  4. What if rel=canonical conflicts with the canonicalization settings in Google Webmaster Tools?

I will post answers as I get them.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. Hi Ian, the problem is that anyone outside can link to your webpage with a new attribute, so canonical is wonderful. Imagine:

  2. Sometimes you need to have different paths to a page. In e-commerce for example – route via category or route by manufacturer. I’m going to add this code to my manufacturer path. Is this the solution??

  3. So, if I have a home page URL that I want to use as the indexed URL and also a URL with tracking code from a banner, do I place the link tag on the index page? Because, obviously, the tracking code URL doesn’t really exist as a page – it’s a virtual URL.
    With that said, how exactly would that work? Google finds any pages on my domain that seem similar to my homepage and give it the link juice?

  4. For eCommerce I need to show different content in short form, in detail form, I have different groupings for marketing purposes and all are valid and distinct. All the detail items are database driven including full population of Title, description, keywords, everything related to the product, images, price, yah-de-yah-da…..
    It should be possible to add a link with a wildcard to explicitly tell the search engines that all are values are valid and distinct, e.g.
    Is such a wildcard possible in a link?

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