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I have a website. It has content that already exists somewhere on other sites. I have added a canonical tag, nevertheless Google index those URLs.

I'm not concerned about these pages being indexed, only thing I want to know is whether Google will take manual action and perhaps inflict a penalty for thin content on my site?

  • How are you determining that Google has indexed those URLs? Do you see these pages returned in "normal" search results? Or are you using a site: search? – MrWhite Dec 19 '16 at 17:07
  • The canonical tag presumably points to the "other site" where the content originates? Do you have other, unique, content on your site that you do want indexed? – MrWhite Dec 19 '16 at 17:13
  • Having only duplicated content is death in Googles eyes. Your site has to offer value of it's own. Keep in mind there are two forms of penalty. One we all know as Panda and Penguin where a site or pages will be de-listed. The other is where the penalty is applied page by page in the SERP (search engine result page) placement. This is how a site lives or dies. It is possible that a search site: directive will return all your pages and your site will suffer poor performance due to a SERP penalty which will certainly happen without original content. Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 19 '16 at 17:30
  • I am determining by using site:example.com – Hafeez Ullah Dec 19 '16 at 19:08
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I have added a canonical tag, nevertheless Google index those URLs.

The rel="canonical" tag doesn't necessarily prevent the non-canonical URL from being indexed. If the pages content are deemed the same/similar then the canonical tag should mean that the canonical URL is returned instead, in Google's "normal" search results. Note that the canonical tag is only advisory. If the pages are not similar (ie. not canonical) then it is likely to be ignored.

determining by using site:example.com

Note, however, that a site: search is not a "normal" Google search. It has been shown to return non-canonical URLs in the search results. URLs that don't ordinarily get returned in "normal" search. That is maybe what you are seeing here.

Instead, if you just search for a unique phrase on the page, is your non-canonical URL still returned in the SERPs?

I'm not concerned about these pages being indexed, ... inflict a penalty for thin content on my site?

If being indexed is not a concern anyway, then I don't see what "penalty" can be applied here? By the sounds of it, you are already implementing the cross-domain canonical so that should be OK.

However, as Closetnoc suggests in comments, if you have no other content on your site, apart from this "borrowed" content from other sites then you probably won't rank anyway. (?)

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