High This Hint is very important, and definitely warrants attention. Issue This Hint represents an error or problem that needs to be fixed.

Canonicalized URL is noindex, nofollow

This means that the URL in question is canonicalized, and also noindex,nofollow.

Why is this important?

The point of a canonical is to explicitly and unambiguously indicate a preferred URL. If Page A is canonicalized to Page B, the instruction to search engines is 'don't index me, index Page B instead.' However, canonicals consolidate and combine indexing signals, so if Page A has a noindex on it, this noindex may also get passed through to Page B.

As such, noindex and rel=canonical should not be used together.

Google's John Mueller offers more clarity in a Reddit thread where he answered this question at length:

John Mueller Response

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL that is noindex, nofollow, and contains a canonical link element that points to another URL.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/page-a

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it had a canonical URL pointing at another internal page, and robots set to noindex nofollow:

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<title>example</title>
<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/page-b" />
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
...
</head>
<body>...</body>
</html>

How do you resolve this issue?

This is a scenario where the canonical has explicitly been set to another URL, and the robots directives only serve to confuse search engines and/or weaken the signal. The solution is simply to remove the robots directives, so that they do not interfere with the canonical.

Further Reading

Ready to try Sitebulb?
Start your free 14 day trial now

Start Free Trial