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canonicals or "hide pages from search results"

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Sorry to ask such a basic question.  I am just moving my site to Square Space and never got in the weeks with SEO before.  My site is an online catalog. So it goes from Home>categories page>detailed item page.  I'd like search engines to ignore the detail pages as I'm afraid I will be cannibalizing keywords.  So...there is an option in SEO setting for each page to have search engines ignore a page.  My long winded question is, would it be okay to use that option on the detailed item pages, or would it be better to add canonicals to the header of each of those pages redirecting back to the main categories.

One other thing.  When viewing page source for any of the pages they all have self Canonical tags. (I guess square space automatically applies them)  It's my understanding to not have 2 canonical tags on a page. So if i were to use a tag to redirect an item page back to a menu pages, wouldn't that mean that page has 2 tags?  My understanding is if it has 2 tags, google ignores both.

Thank you.

Edited by jbholsters
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First off I would let Google crawl the website and let it decide, according to their ranking system, which pages are relevant for the keywords.

By connecting your website to search console you will be able to glean extra information about the keywords and the page that is being associated with those keywords. That is Google's way of telling you which page is the most relevant for the keyword.

Consider that a Category page will be a container that will contain many products, while a product page will have more specific information. You might decide that there are ways that you can improve the SEO content of the product pages to capture more searches. My advice here would be to go to a website like amazon and look at the filters that they make available for similar products, you can also use their channels as a way to get inputs for your own optimisation.

Generally Google wants to index everything and then make up its own mind on the relevance. I've seen people cooking their websites by being too restrictive on their website structure using page codes and server redirects. There may be a case for them, but first see what Google thinks.

In answer to your question, yes having two canonicals shouldn't be done. In an e-commerce setting you might use canonicals legitimately if you had products appearing under two different URLS structures due to them being assigned to two different categories. In this way you would avoid duplication issues, although I would first wait and see which of the two pages Google deems to be the most relevant for the search query, or do extensive keyword research first to isolate which of the two categories you would give priority too.

Hope this helps. have fun!

G.

 

 

 

We provide digital marketing services for businesses that need exposure/sales from search and social media networks. We also build incredibly fast and well optimised multi-language Square Space websites.
Digital Marketing | Marketing Digitale

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I appreciate your informative response. I currently have it set up on my Google Console. Yesterday, I initiated a re-indexing process for the website, as its structure has changed since it was hosted elsewhere. Additionally, a few days ago, I submitted a request for it to crawl the site, so I am awaiting that process to be completed as well. Thank you.

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