Google has recently updated its guidelines on the use of canonical tags. The syndicated content section under their new canonical tag guidelines now shows the following:
“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.”
Google no longer recommends the use of canonical tags for syndicated content. Previously, Google’s advice for those who wanted to syndicate their content was to use canonical tags to communicate to Google which content was original and which one was a duplicate.
However, this did not stop the syndicated content to rank higher than the original piece of content. So now Google’s advice is to ask those who are republishing your content to block your content from being indexed (by using the noindex tag).
Although, this will ensure that the syndicated content does not outrank the original post, asking your publishing partners to block certain content might not be the best idea. Not sure how these conversations are going to go.
Google has also specifically linked to an article on how to avoid duplication in Google News, where they mention that canonicalization should be avoided by syndication partners. Instead, they should use noindex for the Googlebot-News and Googlebot.
It’s worth noting that this recommendation is mainly about cross-site syndication. If you publish the same content on multiple pages on your website, you can still use the canonical tag.
Learn about what are canonical tags and how to use them here.
Let me know what you guys think about this new update in the comment section below.