John Mueller from Google lately advised not to blindly follow the SEO of big websites.
When a user on a Reddit thread posted a query “Should I listen to Google’s advice or follow big sites?”, John Mueller replied to him in a comment advising not to follow what the big websites do with SEO.
Usually, people consider the SEO of bigger websites as a benchmark for their sites as well. It may happen that big sites may succeed and achieve higher search rankings despite not going the right way. But following the same might not benefit other websites.
The thread was published in a sub-reddit r/TechSEO, where Mueller pointed out that technical SEO has a logical process and there are right and wrong ways to execute things. He added that you need to test things for your site. He further added that in this testing you could be right or perhaps, wrong. However, when you’re wrong, search engines will try to help you.
The original poster of the Reddit thread highlighted how Google recommends the canonical tags should be pointed by a site’s canonical pages. However, big websites, on the other hand, use the first page in a series to point their canonical tag.
Replying to the original post, Mueller mentioned that the usage of canonical tags relies on the pages that you want to be indexed. All the pages of a series can be indexed on their own by using a self-referencing canonical tag on every page. However, if all the pages of a series point canonical tag to page one then in such a case only the first page of the series will get indexed.
John Mueller also highlighted the advantage as well as disadvantage of using a self-referencing canonical tag on each page. He mentioned in the Reddit thread that the advantage of using a per page canonical is that you are sure all the links pertaining to all the items residing on a page will be found. However, the disadvantage could be that there could be possibly more items to be crawled and it will be difficult for Google to rank the paginated pages. For e.g., if the pages are category pages for “running shoes”, it will be very difficult to gauge which is the appropriate one to display for a running shoes search.