Does Yandex Support The Canonical Tag?

Short Answer: Yes, with some differences.

Just like Google, Yandex does support the canonical tag and utilizes it in much the same way.

You can use the canonical to alleviate potential duplication within Yandex’s index, but – rather than the common practice of adding self-referencing canonical tags to all pages, Yandex can see this as confusing and highlight error messages – which roughly translated into English are:

The page document code contains a <link> tag with rel=”canonical”, which references the page URL that has been indexed by the robot. Rel=”canonical” is usually used on duplicate pages across the website, and in this case, there is nothing to fix as there is no duplication.

If the pages are not duplicates, and should be indexed by the robot, you need to remove the rel=”canonical” attribute from their source code.

If your website is international, and you have implemented site-wide self-referencing canonical tags for Google best practice, on your Russian alternate version it may be beneficial to run a different code base, and handle potential duplication within Google Russia in an alternate way – this way you can meet best practices for both Russia’s largest search engine, and Google.

The implementation of the tag does not differ to the standard implementation we’re used to with Google:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/main"/>

Yandex however does not respect the canonical tag, and will highlight errors if:

  • The canonical URL is not accessible to the robot — it redirects to another page or is closed from indexing. This means it can’t be included in the search. In this case, a non-canonical URL can be included in the search instead of the canonical URL, provided the robot can access it.
  • The canonical URL points to another domain or subdomain.
  • Several canonical URLs are specified.
  • A chain of canonical URLs is specified. For example, for example.ru/1, the canonical URL is example.ru/2. At the same time, example.ru/2 has the canonical URL example.ru/3.

However, Yandex does not support the cross-domain canonical.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at HreflangChecker.com and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of RussianSearchNews.com.