Google’s Latest Update: Implications of Removing Canonical Tags for Syndicated Content

white concrete building during daytime

Google has made some significant changes to its guidelines for syndicated content, causing a stir among SEO professionals. The search engine has officially stated that it no longer recommends the use of canonical tags for syndicated content. This action will undoubtedly have an impact on how syndicators and publishers address concerns with duplicate content and manage their online image. In this blog post, we’ll look closely at what Google’s decision means for those who use syndication as an important part of their online marketing strategy. Let’s get started!

Introduction to Google’s Latest Recommendation Update

Google has recently made updates to its recommendations regarding syndicated content. The canonical link element is no longer viewed as an effective solution to avoid duplication by syndication partners due to the varying pages involved. Instead, Google now recommends blocking the indexing of the content by partners. This change has implications for publishers and website owners who syndicate their content. [1][2]

Changes in Google’s Canonical Tags Recommendation

Google has updated its guidance on canonical tags for syndicated content, stating that using them is not recommended. Instead, they suggest blocking the index of the content to avoid duplication. In the past, Google advised that requiring syndication partners to use a canonical tag would solve the issue of syndicated content outranking the original source. However, this approach was not always effective. Publishers should take note of these changes and implement best practices for handling syndicated content. [3][4]

Understanding the Role of Canonical Tags for Syndicated Content

Canonical tags play an essential role in identifying the principal version of a page when you have duplicate versions of that page on your website. For syndicated content, the canonical tag was typically used to communicate to Google that the content had been copied from another site. However, Google’s recent update recommends blocking the syndicated content from being accessed instead of using the canonical tag to avoid duplication. This update may have implications for websites that rely on syndicated content. [5][6]

How Google’s Recommendation Update Impacts Syndicated Content

Google’s recent update to its guidance recommends against using canonical tags for syndicated content. Publishers that previously used canonical tags to prevent content duplication may need to find new solutions to ensure search engines can index their content correctly. Instead, Google suggests blocking the access of syndicated content to avoid duplication. This update has significant implications for publishers and website owners who syndicate their content. [7][8]

The Significance of Canonical Tags for SEO

Canonical tags are an essential tool for SEO, as they help search engines distinguish the primary version of a web page from duplicate versions. This helps avoid duplicate content, which can negatively impact a website’s search engine rankings. Implementing canonical tags correctly can improve a site’s performance on search engines like Google. [9][10]

Potential Risks of Removing Canonical Tags for Syndicated Content

Removing canonical tags for syndicated content may result in duplication issues, potentially harming the visibility and ranking of the original content. If you publish your content on multiple websites, search engines may have difficulty choosing which one to show people first. This means they might choose to show the same content from a different website. You should prevent search engines from showing your content on specific websites to avoid this. One way to do this is to ask the website to remove your content from their search results or use a “noindex” tag on your content to prevent search engines from indexing it. Publishers may also want to reassess their syndication strategy and ensure they properly guide crawlers to the original sources. [11][12]

Alternatives to Canonical Tags for Syndicated Content

According to recent updates from Google, there are alternative approaches to canonical tags for syndicated content. Instead of using the canonical link element, website owners can block the content from being accessed by partners to avoid duplication. Additionally, Google News encourages publishers to use the noindex meta robots tag directive to prevent the crawling and indexing of duplicate content. These are effective alternatives for website owners to ensure their original content performs better in Google search. [13][14]

Best Practices for Handling Syndicated Content

When handling syndicated content, it is best to avoid using the canonical link element to avoid duplication. Instead, blocking the page from being accessed is recommended to ensure that the original source performs better in search results. Publishers should communicate with syndication partners to proactively block the content or use the canonical tag to credit the original content when republishing properly. [15][16]

Implications for Publishers and Website Owners

For publishers and website owners, it is important to take note of Google’s updated guidance on canonical tags for syndicated content. Using canonical tags to avoid duplication, is no longer recommended as it may not always stop syndicated content from outranking the original source. Instead, the most effective solution is to block the content from being indexed. Publishers must collaborate with their syndication partners to optimize their original content for better performance in Google News. As such, they should be proactive in using canonical or blocking where necessary to ensure the best version of their content is published. [17][18]

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

In conclusion, if you have been using canonical tags for syndicated content, it’s time to switch to blocking the content from being indexed. Google no longer recommends using canonicals to avoid duplication by syndication partners, as the pages are often very different. Instead, the most effective solution for partners is to block content indexing. This applies to non-news content, while for syndicated news content, publishers should continue to use cross-domain canonicals as prescribed in Google’s existing guidance. [19][20]