Better rankings with canonical tag? A littel experiment!

rising URL only with the Canonical Tag

Last year at Moz SEO Quiz the question appeared if the Canonical tag was the same than a Backlink. Of course it is not, so my answer was „no“. I was the wright. But I started to wonder weather a canonical tag pointing to another domain might have an effect on Rankings. I could not find an answer and made a test.

My assumption is: Canonicals tags transmit Link juice and Trust for the Content.. maybe even with a stronger effect than a Backlink does.

Does copied content including a Canonical tag push your rankings? Is it’s effect like a link or even stronger?

Why do I belief that? I made an experiment! A site, which I use for experiments from time to showed a huge effect.

The preconditions:

Die visibility of the Domain is like non for month now. Even before there were no noteworthy Rankings. I did not do any Link or Content building. There was a really old post like four years old. It was not changed for since it was written.


The Test:

Recently I revised this old article. It is not long like one would do it nowadays and with the revision it grew just a tiny little bit. The content is unique but nothing quit different to other articles in the Internet. Within the same week the article was published additionally on a different Domain. That other Domain has lots more link power than my experimental site. That second duplicated article was advertised with mailings and had quit some traffic. There was no increase in traffic on the original article and there was no visible link to it just a canonical tag pointing tot he original in the source code.



after only three weeks the visibility of my experimental site started to rise:

proper rankings with Canonical Tags


Sistrix visibility


.. and especially the URL of that article made it, it rose and rose. It began from zero with new Keywords in the top 100 to the top 10. Before the canonical there were absolutely no rankings on that URL – never.

rising URL only with the Canonical Tag

screenshot of number of Keywords in SERPs)

If my observation turns out to be true there comes up the question if one might be save – for now – from the consequences of bad and spammy Link building using this canonical technique. Because it seems very likely that canonical tags are not covered with the penguin filter. But we don’t want to dig any deeper here because we don’t want to get involved in bad link building.


Do it yourself instructions

Find a strong site with a webmaster willing to publish your content.

Just convince the webmaster that duplicate content will harm his site but he will be fine with a canonical tag. There will be a win-win-win situation

  1. More user will be able to find the content through the stronger page.
  2. The webmaster will have more content to show his visitors WITHOUT loosing trust or rankings
  3. and I as the author will gain better rankings.

Short how to for the canonical tag: The best is to use the canonical tag on both URLs: the original and the copy. Both tags point to the original URL. Note: tot he URL not to the Homepage:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

Therefore the original article points to itself.

How has made experiences on that topic?

Update Mai/05/2015: Nothing was changed, not the Content, no new internal links, no new external Links but the page is still rising.

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