In an attempt to elucidate their stance on the use of the cross-domain canonical link element (rel=”canonical”), Google provided a statement. They highlighted its limitations and emphasized that its application is not always ideal, specifically in situations where cross-domain canonicals are not recommended.
Google intended to release simultaneous updates on multiple pages, providing guidance on cross-domain canonicals. However, these updates were published in an irregular sequence, leading to ambiguity about Google’s continued support for cross-domain canonicals.
Significant updates to note include:
- Google has provided more explicit advice on handling duplicate content for news publishers that distribute content on Google News. This newly included content offers guidance on how to deal with syndicated content:
“Tip: To evade duplication by syndication partners, the canonical link element is not advised since syndicated articles usually diverge considerably from the original articles. It’s suggested that partners utilize meta tags to prevent indexing of your content.
Learn more about the canonical link element.
To avoid duplication within your own site, if you post the same article on various pages, you can employ the rel=”canonical” link element.
Learn how to specify a canonical.”
This update doesn’t denote a policy shift but merely seeks to provide more lucid guidance on averting duplication when disseminating content.
- Google has also provided clearer guidance on content that should be blocked from Google News, specifically for publishers that republish complete content from wire services, other publishers, or public domain sources. The key change involved removing the advice for publishers to contemplate using the canonical.
The original suggestion was, “Consider blocking or canonical for republished content.” The revised guidance now suggests, “Consider blocking for republished content.” Also, this part was modified to exclude the suggestion of considering a canonical.
The original recommendation stated, “Google News also encourages those that republish material to consider proactively blocking such content or making use of canonical, so that we can better identify the original content and credit it appropriately.”
The revised guidance, which now excludes the suggestion to add a canonical, states, “Google News also encourages republishers to consider proactively blocking this content, so we can better identify the original content and credit it appropriately.”
It is crucial to understand that these pages are intended as guidance, not policy statements. Hence the use of the term “consider” rather than instructing publishers they “must” undertake a particular action.
Google Issues a Statement About Canonical Link Element
Google provided a statement to Search Engine Journal to reiterate their support for the canonical link element. The email stated:
“We support the canonical link element, primarily intended for use within a site to self-identify the canonical version of a page in case of duplicates or near-duplicates. We do attempt to support canonical across domains, but it’s not recommended for those seeking to avoid duplication by syndication partners, as the pages often differ significantly. We’ve revised some of our guidance on this to better advise those who syndicate content.”