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I'd like to post the same content on different domains, where those domains are regional news sites and thus have different audiences which in times are interested in the same news.

Is Google likely to punish this for duplicate content and if so what is the best way to handle this? Do I use a canoncial tag to flag one domain as the original? Is there a way to tell Google to prefer one domain over another based on a user's location, since I don't have a definitive original source?

  • I don't see how this answers my question – SomewhereDave May 18 '18 at 7:52
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Google has a blog post from back in 2009 talking about canonical links and how to handle them across domains. Which is also padded out with a lot of other information on helpful ways to reduced duplicate content, or what could be perceived as duplicate content.

They still list a lot of these suggested practices in their search console duplicate content guide as well.

And follow up with more of it on their duplicate URL consolidation page which has specific mentions of how canonicals can be used across domains to cut down on duplicate content.

Moz has one of their typical think pieces on how to optimally use canonical links across domains. You can take that for what you want since people have mixed feelings about Moz.

To sum it all up as long as you have a canonical link Google should not regard this as duplicate content to be punished because it has one primary home.

On a personal note I think you should be fine as well. If the content is in fact relevant to both locations then Google will pick up on that as good, relevant information for both locations. Providing them with a canonical link to make it clear that you're aware this is duplicate content, but fits both places, with a primary home at X location shouldn't be punished.

  • "To sum it all up as long as you have a canonical link Google should not regard this as duplicate content to be punished because it has one primary home." There is no primary home in the sense that all duplicates point to one URL as the original. Thus far, all these news URLs reference themselve with a canonical tag, which looks odd to me. – SomewhereDave May 17 '18 at 7:48
  • So you're saying that URL at domain 1 is canonical to itself at domain 1? With URL at domain 2 being canonical to itself at domain 2? Because your right that is odd and self defeating of the purpose of canonical links. They are meant to allow content to go a lot of places but indicate a primary home or origin point. Having them simply be canonical to themselves doesn't make a whole lot of sense since then it doesn't tie all the content together in some way. – BelugaWhale May 17 '18 at 13:04
  • Exactly. I assume someone thought this would mark all sources of the content as "orginial" sources, when it really seems superfluous. The question that remains is, if it would be better to simply remove any kind of canonical if all sources are thought of as equal (at least in their respective region). However, in this case I would expect some kind of oscillating popularity with the different news sites in Google, since Google does not know, which URL to prefer. – SomewhereDave May 17 '18 at 14:38
  • I checked some publisher websites and almost all of them use a canonical on article URLs referring to themselves. So I guess there is a use in self-referring canonicals? – SomewhereDave May 18 '18 at 9:07

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