According to Google, using the canonical link element is no longer advised for syndicated content. Rather, preventing access to the syndicated content is recommended to avoid duplication. So, what are Canonical Tags, and how important are they for content marketing and SEO? What are Google’s recommendations in regard to canonical tags for syndicated content?
What are Canonical Tags?
A canonical tag is an HTML element that tells search engines which version of a page is the original or preferred version. It’s a way to indicate to search engines that even though a page may exist in multiple locations on a website, there is one main version that should be indexed and ranked. Canonical tags help prevent duplicate content issues and ensure that the correct version of a page appears in search results.
Let’s learn a bit more about the importance of canonical Tags for SEO and Content Marketing.
Reasons behind Canonical Tags importance for Content Marketing and SEO?
Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevance and authority of a website’s content. Duplicate content can dilute the ranking signals that search engines use to determine a website’s relevance and authority. When search engines encounter duplicate content, they may not know which version to include in their index, or they may penalize the website for having low-quality content.
Canonical tags help prevent these issues by providing a clear signal to search engines about the preferred version of a page. By specifying which version of a page should be indexed, website owners can avoid duplicate content issues and make sure that their website ranks as high as possible in search results.
How to use Canonical Tags?
Canonical tags are relatively simple to use. To implement a canonical tag, follow these steps:
- Determine which page is the preferred version: The preferred version of a page is typically the one that has the most content and the most links pointing to it.
- Add the canonical tag to the preferred version: In the HTML code of the preferred version of the page, add the following code: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/preferred-page”>
- Replace https://www.example.com/preferred-page with the URL of the preferred version of the page.
- Check the canonical tag: Check f the canonical tag is working properly by using Google Search Console’s URL Inspection tool. The tool will show whether the canonical tag is pointing to the correct page.
Best Practices for Using Canonical Tags in Content Marketing
Here are four best tips for using canonical tags in Content Marketing:
- Use canonical tags only when necessary: Only use canonical tags when there are many versions of a page that are identical or very similar. If the content is significantly different, it’s better to create a new page rather than using a canonical tag.
- Use absolute URLs: Always use absolute URLs in canonical tags to ensure that search engines can understand the correct version of a page.
- Use self-referencing canonical tags: In a few cases, a page may have many versions on the same website. In this case, use a self-referencing canonical tag to specify the preferred version of the page. For example: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/page” />
- Update canonical tags when necessary: If the preferred version of a page changes, update the canonical tag to point to the new version of the page.
Content Marketing and canonical tags: What’s new?
Google has posted this information about a new feature in the help document.
What’s new. Google has posted this paragraph in the “syndicated content” section.
The canonical element is not recommended to those who want to avoid duplication of content by syndication partners because the pages are usually very different. It is best for your partners to stop indexing your content. See Avoid Duplicate Articles in Google News for more information. It also contains advice on blocking syndicated Google Search content.”
Do not use canonicals when syndicating content. Instead, Google suggested you block or use canonical tags. Google wrote, “Publishers who allow others to republish their content can ensure that the original versions perform better on Google News by requesting that those republishing make use of canonical. Therefore, Google News encourages those who republish content to consider blocking it or using the canonical tag, so we can identify the original material and credit it properly.”
Google News already had a tag that indicated the source of your content. However, Google no longer supports it because it was not used.
Why should you care?
Google’s recent statement about the canonical link element has important implications for those who use it to prevent content duplication. Specifically, Google now recommends blocking access to syndicated content rather than relying on the canonical tag. This change means that if you’ve been syndicating content and using the tag, it may no longer be effective in avoiding duplicate content issues. Additionally, requiring publishers who syndicate your content to use the canonical tag is unlikely to guarantee that your content will outrank theirs. However, it’s unclear whether you can legally compel them to block the content from Google’s index.
Canonical tags are an integral component of content marketing and SEO strategies, helping prevent duplicative content issues while also making sure the desired version of a page appears in search results. But Google recently issued an advisory against using canonical tags for syndicated content; rather, they advise blocking access in order to prevent duplication. This change highlights how important it is to stay up-to-date with Google’s recommendations to optimize your SEO strategy effectively, prioritizing high-quality original content delivery over any practices that might damage its ranking or reputation.
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