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My company has been publishing blog posts on Medium for about 2 years, and it's time for us to migrate to a blog on our own site instead. I'd like to migrate old content over to the company blog, updating the canonical URL to point to the company blog in the process, in addition to publishing all new posts on the company blog before we place them anywhere else.

Someone asked a similar question about a year ago (Migrating out of Medium) but didn't touch on Medium's "Customize Canonical Link" that lives in the advanced settings of each post, maybe because this field wasn't yet available.

My assumption is that if we set the canonical link in Medium to point to the new version of a post on the company site (and also set rel=canonical on each post on the company site, too, just to be safe) that we shouldn't be dinged for duplicate content. But I'm not sure about this.

Has anyone had experience with setting a "new" canonical URL for a piece of content when migrating but not redirecting, or know whether this can cause issues? If we see a short-lived ding as Goog picks up the new canonical, that's not a huge deal, but I'm concerned about a longer-term penalty.

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Hello and thank you for the question. This is very interesting indeed. But before we get into the nitty gritty details of canoniclization you must first ask yourself or whoever is responsible for content marketing at your company; must you re-publish your content elsewhere? If you publish your content on your blog and then republish that same content on Medium or other platforms, what are you gaining?

I'm also glad that you brought up "duplicate content" and the common, however misguided perception of getting "dinged" for it. Google does not penalize for duplicate content, so you need not worry about it. The most likely issue that you will face however with regards to duplicate content is confusing Google as to which version they should show in their index, which page is the "original"?

Canonical tags can certainly help with this, and Medium, praise for this, have done an excellent job of adding a feature that allows you to canonicalize your posts. However, keep in mind that canonical tags are "hints" not "directives" and Google sometimes ignores them altogether. So even if you set a canonical link inside Medium, Google may ignore it and not rank your original content, especially considering the fact that Medium is probably a much stronger domain with regards to SEO.

So what i would suggest is to simply avoid syndicating your content to third party platforms. But if you must, you could add more hints to Google. For example you can add a sentence inside your post, at the top or bottom, stating that this post originally appeared on xyz.com website with a link to the original post.

You should also make sure that Google has "indexed" your original content before syndicating that content elsewhere.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your journey!

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