Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page?

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Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/23/13 11:18 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 

I just have a general question about a best practice here. I have several paginated pages (Page 2,3,4) and I am using Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next, Prev on these pages currently.

Is it okay if I use a META Robots noindex,follow on these same pages as a back up against Google counting these pages as duplicate content? Will it send mixed signals?

I know Rel=Canonical is really more a "suggestion" than a hard and fast rule. Are there any conflicts here using both at same time?

Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? maeschi 5/23/13 11:40 AM
Here is a good resource to read for you:

Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/23/13 12:26 PM
Thanks. I am very familiar with this resource but it doesn't mention anything about the usage of Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonicals. I am hoping to hear from a Google rep on this.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? luzie 5/23/13 1:07 PM
Hi orioncountry,

>>> Are there any conflicts here using both at same time?

Erm ... no, 1. not if the canonical always reflects the individual URL of each page, but 2. I'd avoid having a single canonical for a set of pages and noindex at the same time, because that would indeed send an ambiguous signal, even though Google should be able to handle it.

Let me give an example for both of the above scenarios:

1. Ok: (rather rarely seen)

URL: myurl-1.html CANONICAL: myurl-1.html ROBOTSTAG: index, follow       NEXT: myurl-2.html
URL: myurl-2.html CANONICAL: myurl-2.html ROBOTSTAG: noindex, follow   PREV:myurl-1.html   NEXT: myurl-3.html
URL: myurl-3.html CANONICAL: myurl-3.html ROBOTSTAG: noindex, follow   PREV:myurl-2.html

2. Avoid: (frequently seen)

URL: myurl-1.html CANONICAL: myurl-1.html   ROBOTSTAG: index, follow         NEXT: myurl-2.html
URL: myurl-2.html CANONICAL: myurl-1.html ROBOTSTAG: noindex, follow    PREV: myurl-1.html   NEXT: myurl-3.html
URL: myurl-3.html CANONICAL: myurl-1.html ROBOTSTAG: noindex, follow    PREV:myurl-2.html

Does that make sense? 

If so, I hope it helps,

-luzie-
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? maeschi 5/23/13 1:33 PM
orioncounty,
Sorry, I don't want to hijack your thread, just would like to ask luzie for a clarification on his post:
Are you saying that scenario would be best with meta index,follow on url2 and url3? Or am I missing something?
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? luzie 5/23/13 1:50 PM
There's a lot of systems which don't allow individual titles or text on subsequent pages of a pagination set, so people want to avoid semi duplication or content inflation and tend to noindex second, third and further URLs of the set, that's a question of what you think best for your individual case. All I want to say is that you should avoid setting the first page to index, use it's URL as canonical on the second page and setting it to noindex. That would mean you have set one and the same URL - the canonical one - to index (on the first page) and to noindex (on the second page) at the same time. 
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/23/13 1:58 PM
Luzie, thanks so much for your insight. I completely understand your posts here, very helpful.

I was planning to do the situation of:

URL: myurl-2.html CANONICAL: myurl-1.html ROBOTSTAG: noindex, follow    PREV: myurl-1.html   NEXT: myurl-3.html

But I realize your right that it would send mixed signals. So I should just NOT use Meta Robots here, and stick with canonical would be best practice?
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? luzie 5/23/13 2:58 PM
My personal preference would be the most logical one, I'd leave both tags away, Canonicals can't really apply here, because myurl-1.html and myurl-2.html in most of these cases do not really have the same content, as had to be according to specifications, compare the common pagination set of product listings in an online store to the example Google themselves gave when introducing canonical tags (a widely known, almost epic post on webmaster central):


I don't see how both cases, pagination and Google's example fit.

Noindex on the other hand is looking redundant to me, there's no real duplication involved if myurl-1,html is listing products 1 to 15 and myurl-2.html is listing products 16 to 30, that's related, but still different content to me, so why exclude it from indexing.

Rel-prev and rel-next attributes on pagination links would very well clarify the whole situation for Google beyond doubt and would leave no need for the two metatags.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/27/13 12:36 PM
Luzie, thanks so much for you help. In the end I am think I am going to leave off the Meta Robots tags and just go solely with the rel=canonical tags. Your argument that that Page 2,3,4, are not really duplicate content just thin and still deserve to be indexed is sound.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? Dr. Pete 5/28/13 3:26 PM
Assuming you're using the combo of rel=canonical and rel=prev/next correctly (which can be tricky), then I do think Robots.txt is a mixed signal and could cause more harm than good. The short explanation is this - for Google, to process and honor any page-based directive (like rel=canonical and rel=prev/next), they have to crawl and index that page. If they honor Robots.txt and ignore the page, then the other signals won't get processed.

If all the solutions were equal, than that may be fine, but I think rel=prev/next is, properly implemented, is the better solution. By "doubling down", you're potentially letting an inferior solution beat out a superior one, IMO.

In general, I'm just not a fan of mixed signals. If they don't work, you don't know why (or if the mixed signals were the culprit). If they do work, you don't necessarily know which one worked. From a diagnostic standpoint, you can really make a mess of things, in my experience.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/29/13 6:59 AM
Thanks Pete for your thoughts, I do agree with your assessment. However in this case I was going to use a META Robots Noindex,follow tag on the pages in conjunction with the rel=canonical, rel=next,prev. I am not using Robots.txt.

That being said, I would expect that if I were to use the Robots.txt in conjuction with rel=canonical, Robots.txt would take preference over any canonical as it is going to be the first thing read by Googlebot upon visiting the website. Next it would would look individual page directives and other internal rules.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? Dr. Pete 5/29/13 7:30 AM
Ah, sorry... I was thinking Robots.txt. Even with META Noindex, I'd avoid doubling up, personally, just because it can be hard to disentangle later.  From what I've seen, META Robots will usually override canonical and will almost definitely override rel=prev/next. Honestly, though, it never seems to work quite the same way twice, especially on large sites.
Re: Can I use Meta Robots in conjunction with Rel=Canonical, Rel=Next,Prev on the same page? orioncountry 5/29/13 7:34 AM
Agreed, that's my experience too. It can such a mess to figure out at times.