Google recently updated its guidance on cross-domain canonicals, which has important implications for website owners and SEO professionals. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what cross-domain canonicals are, why they matter for SEO, and what changes Google has made to its guidance.
What are Cross-Domain Canonicals?
A canonical URL is the preferred URL for a piece of content. When there are multiple URLs that point to the same content, specifying a canonical URL tells search engines which version of the content to index and rank. This can help prevent duplicate content issues and ensure that the correct version of the content appears in search results.
Cross-domain canonicals come into play when a piece of content is hosted on multiple domains. For example, let’s say you have a blog post that is published on both your company’s website and a partner’s website. If both URLs are indexed by search engines, it could result in duplicate content issues and hurt your SEO. By specifying a canonical URL that points to one version of the content, you can avoid these issues and ensure that the preferred version of the content is indexed and ranked.
Why Cross-Domain Canonicals Matter for SEO
Cross-domain canonicals are important for SEO because they help ensure that the correct version of the content is indexed and ranked. When there are multiple versions of the same content, search engines may have a hard time determining which version to show in search results. This can result in lower rankings and less visibility for your content.
Additionally, if multiple versions of the same content are indexed, it can lead to duplicate content issues. Duplicate content can confuse search engines and make it harder for them to understand what your website is about. This can result in lower rankings and less traffic to your site.
What Changes Has Google Made to its Guidance?
Google recently updated its guidance on cross-domain canonicals. Previously, Google recommended using rel=canonical tags to specify the canonical URL for cross-domain content. However, this approach had some limitations, such as not being able to signal to Google which domain the content originated from.
In its updated guidance, Google now recommends using the new cross-domain canonical tag. This tag allows site owners to specify the canonical URL for content that is hosted on a different domain. It also allows site owners to signal to Google which domain the content originated from.
The new tag is called rel=”canonical” with the attribute rel=”crossdomain”. Here’s an example of what it looks like:
The rel=”crossdomain” attribute indicates that this is a cross-domain canonical tag. The origin attribute specifies the domain where the content originated from.
It’s important to note that the new tag is not supported by all search engines yet. Currently, it’s only supported by Google and Bing. If you’re using other search engines, you’ll still need to use the rel=canonical tag.
What Should You Do?
If you have content that is hosted on multiple domains, it’s important to use a cross-domain canonical tag to avoid duplicate content issues and ensure that the correct version of the content is indexed and ranked. Here are some best practices to follow:
- Use the new cross-domain canonical tag if possible. This tag allows you to specify the canonical URL for cross-domain content and signal to Google which domain the content originated from.
- If the new tag is not supported by the search engines you’re targeting, use the rel=canonical tag instead.
- Make sure that the canonical URL you specify is the preferred version of the content. This could be the version hosted on your