Google Updates Canonicalization Help Document: Don't Use Canonicals For Syndicated Content

May 3, 2023 - 6:41 am 6 by

Robots Writing Notepads

Google has updated its help documentation for canonicalization. It removed a line about syndicated content and also updated a line about noindex to prevent selection of a canonical page within a single site.

But Google added a whole section around not using a canonical tag for syndicated content anymore; more on that below.

If you compare the live page to the archived page you will see Google removed this line:

"To manage syndicated content. If you syndicate your content for publication on other domains, you might want a particular URL to appear in search results."

Google then updated this line to read:

"We don't recommend using noindex to prevent selection of a canonical page within a single site, because it will completely block the page from Search. rel="canonical" link annotations are the preferred solution."

The release notes specify, the Google updated its "documentation about canonicalization with explicit recommendations for syndicated content.

But I think Google meant to link those release notes to this page where Google added this section on syndicated content:

The canonical link element is not recommended for those who wish to avoid duplication by syndication partners, because the pages are often very different. The most effective solution is for partners to block indexing of your content. For more, see Avoid article duplication in Google News, which also has advice about blocking syndicated content from Google Search.

Previously, Google has recommended you use the canonical tag for syndicated content. I guess that is no longer the case. We did see Google have issues with ignoring the canonical tag on syndicated content, even those it was deemed the best approach.

That was spotted by Jono Alderson:

I am not sure why Google linked to the other document.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: At 1pm ET or so, the link in the change log document was updated to the right location.

Update 2: Google also updated this Google News help document to remove using canonicals. Here is the before and after from Wayback Machine:


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