Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Dave Elliott on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, August 27, 2014).

Canonicalisation vs 301.

Quick canonicalisation vs 301 question.

someone quite high up at one of the larger uk agencies insisted that it was better to 301 the home page rather than canonicalise, but to canonicalise the rest of the site

What are your thoughts on this?

The only reason i can think that this would be a best practice is if users arrive at the home page it at least guarantees that the rest of the site will be in the correct url format if people take the address out the browser to make a link etc. Basically, it means that if you haven`t canonicalised certain pages on the site it acts as a bit of a fail safe.

Is it better to 301 the home page to avoid incompetence or laziness issues? Have i missed a good reason why this should the case? Or was the person just plain wrong? Have i asked this question before and forgotten the answer??

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OUR ANSWERS

Answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Panelists.

  • Dave Elliott: yeah i meant the www vs no www mainly for the 301 side of things on the home page. And masatke seems to have it about right. Oh, youve moved on....never mind.
YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Dave Elliott: Quick canonicalisation vs 301 question.

    someone quite high up at one of the larger uk agencies insisted that it was better to 301 the home page rather than canonicalise, but to canonicalise the rest of the site

    What are your thoughts on this?

    The only reason i can think that this would be a best practice is if users arrive at the home page it at least guarantees that the rest of the site will be in the correct url format if people take the address out the browser to make a link etc. Basically, it means that if you haven't canonicalised certain pages on the site it acts as a bit of a fail safe.

    Is it better to 301 the home page to avoid incompetence or laziness issues? Have i missed a good reason why this should the case? Or was the person just plain wrong? Have i asked this question before and forgotten the answer?
  • Krish Purnawarman: Question is, does that page needing to be canonicalized need to exist for users? If not then 301. e.g. Faceted navigation, and filter result variant pages on e-commerce sites, these needs to be there for users, so its best to canonicalized. This is from my experience. My 2 cents worth..
  • Shawn Barrington: I am assuming that when you say "301 redirect the home page" you are referencing 301 redirecting the non-www. Version of the site to the www. of the site? Or the .html version to the / version. Correct?

    As long as that's the case....here is what I know. Canonicalization is manly used to tell search engines which version you want them to index. But a 301 redirect will tell search engines and users alike what should be indexed or used. Personally I would recommend you 301 redirecting the different versions of the homepage to the version you want to use.

    This is the cleaner Version of doing everything and is less confusing for search engines and users to use and understand. You technically can use a canonical but search engines don't always use it. Hope that makes sense. 

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Wednesday, August 27, 2014).

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