Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, posted a Twitter thread, with slides from a presentation he prepared for an AOP event in London back in May around SEO and Google guidance for content syndication partners.
Here is a summary of that Twitter thead, which basically repeats the advice Google offered after removing the canonicalization advice for syndicated content last May.
This was all prompted based on a report from the Newzdash team named Guard Your SEO: Are News Syndication Partners Hijacking Your Traffic? – Check it out…
Here is what Danny wrote in response on Twitter – I will quote him directly:
“If anyone is concerned about content they voluntarily syndicate & allow others to try to rank for, our recommendation is to require their partner to use noindex. That’s been our long-standing advice with Google News. We made that clearer in our guidance this year. I have slides!
I talked in May at an AOP event in London & revisited our guidance about syndication, so maybe these slides I used there will help. Our main help page change was to focus on your goal with syndicated content rather than the mechanism.
For Google News, our advice on syndicated content outside your network did not change. Use noindex. Wasn’t use canonical before. It was use noindex. And as it’s your syndication arrangement, asking for that is entirely possible.
Some publishers syndicated within their own network of sites. For that, we said use noindex and dropped canonical. I’ll get back to the why in a bit…
We also updated the guidance for those who use syndicated content to consider to only recommend noindex. Of course, if the agreement the partners have requires this, they should follow the agreement. We made the change so this advice was completely consistent with what publishers were long advised.
We also changed our guidance for Google Search to match what it was long for Google News, use noindex. Of course, if publishers had been requiring noindex completely as part of agreements, they’d have already been doing this. But it makes it all consistent.
At this point, there’s sometimes a “What? Google thinks everyone in the world needs to noindex content because they can’t figure out original content!” reaction. No. We figure out original content all the time. But when content is deliberately allowed to be published by another prominent news organization, it makes that particular challenge harder…
Syndicated content especially can differ from the original content with lots of other material on the page. Canonical is designed primarily to deal with near duplicate pages. That’s why we don’t recommend it for syndication within a network (such as two newspaper owned by the same publisher). Differ publications within a network often have substantially different templates, related articles, etc.
To recap, if you’re concerned about your own syndication partners outranking your content, your agreement with them should require noindex. If you don’t do that, our systems will try to determine the original contents. But it’s harder. That’s why noindex has long been recommended.”
So that is what Danny posted…
This was a follow-up on why Google stopped using the canonical for this purpose:
If you’re asking a syndicated partner to use canonical, it’s basically the same thing as noindex. Canonical is saying “hey this page is really that so rank that other page not this.” Using noindex will do the same thing without the issues canonical can have as covered here pic.twitter.com/mBc263iEFQ
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) July 7, 2023
Why is this important?
Syndication partners might not be partners (depending on your goal). They can often outrank you, even when you properly canonicalize. That’s why Google is now saying that sites consuming your syndicated content should noindex that content. But good luck in getting that done. 🙂 https://t.co/ISonRBwGHy
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 8, 2023
Forum discussion at Twitter.