We self-host video content on our site and allow other sites to embed our videos using IFRAME.

Up until a few months ago, we used to canonical the iframe page to the video listing page on our website (the same way YouTube does it).

However, as of about 3 months ago, Google started ignoring these canonical tags and has begun indexing/displaying our embeddable pages within the search results. This is, of course, awful for "thin" content.

We also noticed that Google is ignoring Vimeo canonicals now too: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aplayer.vimeo.com

... it seems Google is cracking down on this "alternative" canonical usage and presume they are enforcing canonical for "exact duplicate" matches only (as mentioned in the webmaste guidelines).

As a patch, we simply NOINDEX'd the embeddable pages and all is well. However, we still want to link back to the video source page within the embed. Because of course, this link juice is going nowhere.

As a patch, we have included a proper (HTML) link (not JS) within the video page and overlayed it on the video. You can see an example here: https://flyawaysimulation.com/videoembed/10315/

... notice the link at the top left.

I am asking for opinions, suggestions, advice and tips if this is a good way to proceed with this issue? Are there any negatives that I can't see?

1 Answer 1


It does seem that Google recently changed how they handle canonicals. One poster here had put every page on their site as canonical to the home page. A few years ago, that would have been an SEO disaster. These days Google appears to be ignoring the canonical tag if the content isn't duplicate enough.

Your solution of noindex with a link sounds to me about as good as you are going to get. The noindex will prevent the page from showing up in search results, but shouldn't prevent Google from crawling the page and assigning value to the links in it.

One thing to try to get the canonicals recognized again would be to make the page titles and meta descriptions identical on the frame page and the real page. Those two items tend to feature heavily into Google's duplicate page detection algorithm. They even warn about duplicate titles and meta descriptions in Google Search Console.

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