Google releases statement on support for cross-domain canonicals
Google offered a statement to clarify its support for the cross-domain canonical link element (rel=”canonical”), noting limitations on its use and not recommending it.
Google was going to release updates to multiple cross-domain canonical how-to pages at the same time this week, but instead they were released in a staggered manner, leading to confusion as to whether Google still supported cross-domain canonicals.
Two changes are to be noted.
1. Google has clarified its duplicate content guidelines for news publishers syndicating content on Google News.
This is the new content added to the Guide to Syndicating Content:
“Tip: If you want to avoid duplication by syndication partners, the canonical link element is not recommended, since syndicated articles often differ greatly in content from original articles.
Instead, partners should use meta tags to block your content from being indexed.
Learn more about the canonical link element.
Avoid duplicates on your own website
If you publish the same article on multiple pages of your own website, you can use the rel=”canonical” link element.
Learn how to make a canonical statement.”
The update does not change the policy, it is only intended to clarify the guidance on how to avoid duplication when syndicating content.
2. Google has also clarified the guidelines on content that needs to be blocked from Google News.
The change was made especially for publishers who republish all content, e.g. B. from Internet services, in partnership with other publishers or from public domain sources.
The main change was the removal of guidance encouraging publishers to consider using the canonical.
The original page contained the following suggestion:
“Block or consider canonical for newly published content”
The updated guide now suggests the following:
“Consider banning newly published content”
Also, this part has been changed to remove the suggestion to consider a canonical.
This is the original suggestion (snapshot from archive.org):
“Google News also encourages those who republish material to consider proactively blocking such content or using canonical content so that we can better identify and properly credit the original content.”
And this is the updated guide, now missing the suggestion to add a canonical:
“Google News also encourages republishers to proactively block this content so that we can better identify and give proper credit to original content.”
It is important to note that the above pages are to be considered as a guide and not a statement of policy.
For this reason, the guide uses the word “consider,” which is distinct from the recommendation that publishers “must” do something.
Google Issues Statement on Canonical Link Element
Google offered the following statement to Search Engine Journal to make it clear that Google continues to support the canonical link element.
They wrote in the email:
“We support the canonical link element, which is primarily designed to be used within a website to self-identify what should be considered a canonical version of a page when there are potential duplicates or near-duplicates.
We also try to support Canonical across domains, but Canonical is not recommended for those who want to avoid duplication by syndication partners as the sites are often very different.
We’ve updated some of our guidance on this to better advise those syndicating content.”
Now it’s clear that Google still supports cross-domain canonical link elements.
They also make it clear that this is not a recommended practice for publishers who want to avoid duplication through content syndication.