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I have a page which displays summary versions of content from other pages on the site. The page is essentially a category directory, it's links to other pages followed by a summary of that page.

I've seen the <link rel="canonical" ... tag, but I think this applies only to a whole page and not only to part of it.

What I'm looking for is something like this:

<div rel="canonical" href="http://original/content">
    Summary Content

And then I can have many of these <div> on the same page.

Is the above valid?

Is there even any point doing this?

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migrated from Jul 24 '13 at 14:59

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You cannot use rel canonical on a <div>. Google only recognizes the rel canonical meta tag in the <head> of a document. They have this policy to minimize the risk that websites have rel canonical tags added in the middle of the body due to cross site scripting (XSS) attacks.

If you have a div that has content from another source, a user visible link to that other source should let Google know where you got that piece of content. With proper attribution of syndicated content and enough original content of your own, Google won't consider your site to be a scraper site and you can avoid penalties. See Google's duplicate content documentation where they say:

it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article.

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Thanks, the XSS point is interesting, I understand 100% now. – Gerve Jul 24 '13 at 15:38
"... a user visible link to that other source should let Google know where you got that piece of content" Can this be cited? – Jonah Jun 25 at 7:25
I have added a citation – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 25 at 9:13

This is neither valid nor will it have any positive effect. The rel and href attributes are mainly used on a or link tags, not on div. The usage of canonical is explained in this post.

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I think you should know the meaning and usage of rel canonical tool better. rel="canonical" is a tool to prevent duplicate content. We use it in head section of a page to tell Google that which version of pages (with similar content) is original. So there is no reason for use it in <div> tags of your HTML code.

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But the div tags contain duplicate content from other pages on the site. – Gerve Jul 24 '13 at 15:16
Yes, Maybe! But rel canonical can be used in "page level" not in "div level". – MiladSafaei Jul 24 '13 at 15:21
MiladSafaei, welcome to Pro Webmasters. While your answer is factually correct, your tone is not appropriate for this site. People ask questions about what they do not know. It is not nice to point out the gaps in their knowledge to them. – Stephen Ostermiller Jul 24 '13 at 15:26
Stephen Ostermiller, thank you very much for your hint. But I did not want to be rude to our friend. sorry for bad tone. – MiladSafaei Jul 24 '13 at 15:33
it's ok, no offense taken. – Gerve Jul 24 '13 at 15:34

Although canonical is not intended to do this, will. Using the sameAs and/or url properties with inner-site source could accomplish a similar result without needing to put in a literal <a> link to the parent entity that the summary describes. An overview of the differences is ironically found in another property, mainEntityOfPage


The sameAs property also relates a thing to a page that indirectly identifies it.


The url property should be reserved to refer to more official or authoritative web pages, such as the item’s official website.

So to try it out, you can run it through the rich snippet test

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