google clarify rel cacnonical big change for seo

google clarify rel cacnonical big change for seo

Google Clarify use of rel=”canonical”

Google has recently updated its guidance on the use of the rel="canonical" link element, especially in the context of cross-domain canonicals and syndicated content. The updates clarify Google’s stance on when and how to use the canonical link element effectively to manage duplicate content across different domains.

Key Takeaways on Google’s Updated Canonical Guidance

  1. Handling Syndicated Content: Google clarifies that while the rel="canonical" link element is supported and primarily designed for use within a single site to identify the canonical version of a page, its application across domains (cross-domain canonicals) should be approached with caution. It’s particularly not recommended for publishers looking to avoid duplication by syndication partners, as the pages involved are often significantly different​​.
  2. Syndicated News Content: For news publishers syndicating their content, Google’s guidance remains consistent. News publishers are encouraged to use cross-domain canonicals for content syndicated within their own site or network. However, for content syndicated to third-party sites, the recommendation is to have those partners use the noindex meta robots tag to prevent Google News from indexing the syndicated versions, ensuring only the original content is crawled and indexed​​.
  3. Clarification on Cross-Domain Canonicals: Google has removed previous recommendations for using cross-domain canonicals to manage syndicated content, noting the challenges in identifying and correctly attributing the original source of content. Instead, the updated guidance suggests that the most effective solution for avoiding duplication is for syndication partners to block indexing of the content​​.
  4. Google’s Support for Canonical Link Element: Despite these clarifications, Google reaffirms its support for the canonical link element, emphasizing its utility within a site to designate preferred versions of duplicate or similar content. The guidance update aims to provide clearer advice for those syndicating content, stressing that the canonical link element’s effectiveness can vary based on the distinctiveness of the pages involved​​.

Implications for Publishers and SEO Practitioners

These updates underscore the importance of a nuanced approach to using rel="canonical" across different domains, particularly for content syndication purposes. Publishers and SEO professionals should carefully evaluate the similarity of the content and the potential for confusion or incorrect attribution by search engines when deciding on the use of canonical tags for cross-domain content.

For detailed guidance and to stay updated on best practices for using the rel="canonical" link element and managing syndicated content, refer to Google’s official documentation and resources provided by reputable SEO news outlets like Search Engine Journal.