Canonical element
« on: August 27, 2009, 07:53:22 AM »
I read in an old post that xml-sitemaps doesn't respect the canonical element... your answer to that post:
currently it's not used, as it's better to avoid duplicate URLs in a different ways (with "robots noindex" meta tag or rel=nofollows or robots.txt), so that it's also applied to other search engines AND search engine will not have to retrieve the page just to find out that it is a duplicate.
In my case, and I suspect it's the same with many other ecommerce websites, noindex or nofollow is not an option. Here's why:
My site has an admin panel for adding/editting/deleting new products. The 'add' module allows me to choose many different categories that the product will fall under. For the end user (client side), the user is able to find the same product in numerous ways (under many different categories) BUT the product landing page is identical, regardless of how the user gets to it. If I used a noindex or a nofollow (or both), NONE of my product landing pages will ever get indexed.

Here's a good example - let's say that one of my products is blue jeans for men in size extra-large, it's manufactured by Acme, and this model is called "AcmeBlue".
Ok, so I add the product description and images in admin panel, and I designate it as the following categories:
clothes, pants, mens, x-large, acme, AcmeBlue.
ALL of the following urls will point to the same product landing page:
[ External links are visible to forum administrators only ]
[ External links are visible to forum administrators only ]
[ External links are visible to forum administrators only ]
[ External links are visible to forum administrators only ]
etc, etc, etc.... there could be 20 more applicable urls.

If I use the canonical element, the search engines will know that it's duplicate content but I am showing them which is the "preferred" url and therefore they not penalize me because they will only index the preferred one.

I have no other option than to use the canonical element to fix the "duplicate content" issue.

Now, I have not (yet) modified my site to use canonical, but I absolutely have to because google and yahoo have already told me that I have major duplicate content issues and therefore this is one of the major reasons that they are not indexing my site.

Does xml-sitemaps still not use canonical? Are there plans do implement it into xml-sitemaps? (If so, when?)
I really like xml-sitemaps but I will be forced to stop using it if it won't use canonicals.

Re: Canonical element
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2009, 12:00:34 AM »

this is planned for the next version of sitemap generator, we do not have ETA for new release date though.