Does Google support cross-domain rel=”canonical”?

Today’s question comes
from Computer Klaus in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Computer Klaus wants
to know, “Hi! How does Google see cross-domain
canonicals?” Great question. Whenever rel=”canonical” was
first introduced, we wanted to be a little careful. We didn’t want to open it
up for potential abuse. So you could only use rel=”canonical” within one domain. The only exception to that was,
you could do between IP addresses and domains. But over time, we didn’t see
people abusing it a lot. And if you think about it, if
some evil, malicious hacker has hacked your website, and
he’s going to do something to you, he’s probably going to put
some malware on the page, or do a 301 redirect. He’s probably not patient
enough to add a rel=”canonical”, and then wait
for it to be recrawled and reindexed, and all that
sort of stuff. So we sort of saw that
there didn’t seem to be a lot of abuse. Most webmasters used
rel=”canonical” in very smart ways. We didn’t see a lot of people
accidentally shooting themselves in the foot, which
is something we do have to worry about. And so a little while after
rel=”canonical” was introduced, we added the ability
to do cross-domain rel=”canonical”s. And it basically works essentially like a 301 redirect. If you can do a 301 redirect,
that’s still preferred, because every search engine
knows how to handle those, new search engines will know
how to process 301 permanent redirects. But we do take a
rel=”canonical”, and if it’s on one domain and it points
to another domain, we will typically honor that. We always reserve the right to
sort of hold back if we think that the webmaster is
doing something wrong or making a mistake. But in general, we will
usually, almost always abide by that. Hope that helps.

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