Make Your Results Look Better on Google.com

Thursday, December 10, 2009 | 11:01 AM

At Google, we've found that users are more likely to click on short URLs in the search results than on longer ones. However, if your site is like most, there are multiple URLs that will take users to the same product page, including some that are longer because they include tracking information, category navigation, or other parameters. For example, both


http://www.example.com/product?id=388
and
http://www.example.com/product?id=388&category=748&sessionId=4754379899

might lead to the same product page. When Googlebot crawls a site, it's not unusual for it to find several URLs for the same page. And it's not always clear which of those should be displayed in the search results on Google.com.

There's actually a way for you to tell search engines which URL you'd prefer they use. Your webmaster can do this with a <link rel="canonical"> tag. For example, if you wanted to specify the shorter URL above, you could just have the following added to the <head> section at the top of your page:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product?id=388">

For more information on how to specify your canonical, check out our canonical URLs post on the Webmaster Central Blog.

The canonical URL you specify will indicate your preference for Google.com search results, but for Product Search, Product Listing Ads, and AdWords product extensions we'll continue to use the URLs you specify in your feeds or through the API. That means that if you're submitting URLs with tracking parameters, they will continue to work.

As always, send any questions our way in the help forum.

Posted by Robin Zueger, Product Manager, Google Merchant Center