I'm quitely new to SEO and I don't know how to handle foreign content on a blog.
I am writing content for two different blogs. The subjects of these blogs intersect partially, so there are sometimes situations in which I like to post exactly the same entry on both blogs. On the other hand I often see blogposts with a note like "this post was first published on www.xyz.com".

I thought to avoid the problem with double content I could use a canonical link in both cases. But all I read about using it cross-domain supposes to still have the same website.

So what is the best practice to handle this, by avoiding

  1. that the original site doesn't benefit from being the first-posted and
  2. that the second site has disadvantages because of containing double content


edit: I assume the fact that google tries to serve different contents for given keywords. Sites which doesn't seem to be the original one of multiple found content are ranked down, based on the presumption the content was stolen or something else (this correct?). How to prevent this behaviour if content is legally doubled? Would the canonical-link be the right way or isn't there any, bercause it'd be against googles aims?

  • If you have two distinct website, where is the problem for SEO? the double containing downgrade a SEO note just if you add same website no? if you have two same content in two distinct websites is not a problem. By definition SEO is the process of improving the visibility of ONE website or a web page in a search engine's. Please correct me if I made ​​a mistake.
    – Doc Roms
    Aug 3, 2012 at 14:48
  • Duplicate content could be an issue even on different domains. One of the two duplicate pages would probably be considered the original by Google, and the non-original could not be displayed in the SERP for certain keywords.
    – milo5b
    Aug 6, 2012 at 19:51
  • sorry @Doc Roms for the late response. I understood this issue like milo5b posted, that google places disadvantages on the webpage which seeming copied the content. I'll edit my question.
    – 32bitfloat
    Aug 6, 2012 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


The canonical tag won't accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. If you have an article on site A with the canonical tag pointing to the same article on site B you are telling Google not to index the article on Site A because it is a duplicate of the article on site B. In other words the original site gets all the benefit and the second site is guaranteed not to show up in the SERPs.

The first thing I'd consider is how much of your content is duplicate, if this happens only occasionally Google is not likely to care however, the more often it happens the more likely it will be a problem.

Really the only solution is to make sure it's not duplicate content, use the same research and write two articles that approach the topic from different perspectives. Or publish the article on one site and then post a short summary on the other with additional resources and information etc.

If they're both popular sites and related to the same topic you may find some of your readers read both and giving them duplicate articles isn't a good experience. That is worth considering in addition to the SEO ramifications.

  • Thanks for the explanation. This situation occurs in about 5% of blogposts, where I don't know if that is "much". The popularity of the sites isn't that big and the frequence of posting is also quite low (maximum one post per day). The first aim for me is to make sure that none of the pages get disadvantages because of the other one.
    – 32bitfloat
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:58
  • 5% isn't much in my opinion. However, anytime there is exact or near duplicate content one of the copies will be at a disadvantage in the SERPs. Even if Google decides not to filter it out there can only be one #1.
    – Joshak
    Aug 9, 2012 at 12:52

Canonical is only AFAIK for same-site duplicate content. Basically, when you have the same page with different URLs (which is a common issue), Google doesn't know which one to show for the search results, so the canonical tells Google 'use this one'. This has no effect on separate sites that I know of.

Google has no real way of knowing which site 'posted something first'. They crawl pages in different sites at different times/days and random pages at that, so even if site A posts something on 3/3/2012 and site B copies it and posts it on 3/4/2012, maybe Google crawls the page on site B before they crawl it on site A, so they can't automatically penalize for that (it's more an on-demand thing, when site A accuses site B of copying their content, they investigate and penalize).

In your case what I would do is, if the duplicate posts are common, just mark the page with the copied post as "noindex nofollow" so search engines ignore it (as far as page ranking goes). If it's not a common thing then don't worry about it.

  • Thank you too for the answer. Your advice seems the best to me so far because it means that I don't have to change the contents but the meta tags. However I am wondering how, for example, newssites or sites about technical issues handle it when they publish shared texts from well-known authors. I can't imagine they'd disclaim the indexing of their own sites or let google decide which is the original one...?
    – 32bitfloat
    Aug 8, 2012 at 19:09
  • Like I said, it's not an automatic penalty. The authors/sources if they feel they have been plagiarized they can submit the request to Google, they will check and penalize. If it's legit (like they asked the sources for permission, etc) then there is no problem. That's why in the legit sites they add links back to the author/original source. Not many people will complain if they get links back to them from legit sites.
    – Rodolfo
    Aug 8, 2012 at 20:59

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