How does Google determine the canonical source for a piece of content? - SEO Packages | Professional SEO Services Sydney How does Google determine the canonical source for a piece of content? - SEO Packages | Professional SEO Services Sydney

How does Google determine the canonical source for a piece of content?

Can Google determine the canonical source for any published web content?

Are you wondering if Google can actually determine the original source for any web content online? How does the search engine do it at all? These are fair questions considering the search engine’s emphasis on original and high quality content.

So let’s get right to it! Check out some of the factors that the search engine uses to trace the canonical source for any piece of web content as discussed in the webmaster video shown above.

Factors that Google considers in assessing the canonical source for web content

As explained in the webmaster video, Google has a system in place for assessing the original source for web content based on various factors which include:

Date and place first published – if a certain piece of content was first published a couple of years ago on a certain site and reappears somewhere else some time later then chances are that the search engine would recognize the first one as the  canonical source.

Content management systems like WordPress and Blogger can also help pinpoint time and dates as they automatically “ping” search engines when publishing new content.           

Page rank – SEO page rank is certainly also a factor. If Google has to choose between two websites as the canonical source for a particular piece of content, the search engine algorithm would prefer the one with a higher page rank.

Rel=author – publishers can annotate the web content that they publish with rel=author as it displays the author’s profile along with the content. It’s certainly one signal that the search engine uses to determine who really wrote what as far as the original source of a certain web content is concerned.

Site level signals – if a website has a known history of webspam violations like “scraping” and syndicated content then it is unlikely that the search engine would recognize it as the canonical source for any content.

Determining the original source for published web content and giving due credit is no simple matter and the search engine admits that the process it has set in place for such a purpose is not at all perfect. Google’s algorithms do get it all wrong sometimes in which case the search engine would be happy to hear about it.

So what are your thoughts about Google’s process on the matter and has it affected your search engine optimisation strategy in any way?

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