Growth February 18, 2020

Attribution of SEO juice to the original blog (HELP)

Karthik Sridharan @karthik_2206

Hey guys,

After writing blogs, we try to distribute it by repurposing them in various forms. We had written a series of blogs that become a gigantic guide when put together. So, we were planning to repackage these blogs as a guide too, while keeping the original blogs (and therefore URLs) too.

I was thinking of including a canonical tag in the URLs of the guide. My question is whether any backlinks, etc. received by the guide would be attributed to the original blog? I would like that to happen, hence want to understand if it would :).

Thanks in advance! :)

  1. 4

    Hi Karthik,

    I'm 15 years in the job as SEO manager and specialist. It's truly awesome to see such a question. Usually people don't think about this, let alone have a suggestion to solve it.

    Some questions:

    1. The guide will be completely open?
    2. Each article will be a unique page in the guide?
    3. Each page will have the article exactly the same on a new URL?
    4. Is it possible to share a link to an article and it's link in the guide?

    The question is if it really is duplicate content. The rule i always tell my clients is: if it would be a thesis, would the plagiarism system identify it as plagiarism or not?

    So the actual content needs to be more or less the same. Copy, images, headers, videos..

    If that is the case, canonicalization will work and if Google accepts it too (who truly knows) , they will see the blog posts as original source. Link value gets passed through as you mention.

    It can be considered like a 301 redirect but with keeping the page alive.

    However, in the end one version is always better than two with canonicals.

    From a quality point of view I'd want the guide to rank instead of the blog. As it is more likely to keep readers engaged on the site and potentially download it than a single Blog post does. It's also more likely to get incoming links due to higher quality information.

    I'd seriously think about migrating the blog posts directly with 301 redirects to their place in the guide.

    You could however always start with canonicalizing and then updating the guide with additional information, more examples and depth.

    Eventually this would still lead to making the blog posts obsolete and 301 redirecting it to the guide. Moving all link value over to the in depth content to have that rank. Its very likely it'll do better due to the increase of the quality content and higher visitor engagement.

    Good luck!

    1. 3

      Hey Michel (@DocM20),

      This is so brilliant - I never thought that I would get as detailed an answer as this.

      1. The guide will be completely open? - Absolutely.

      2. Each article will be a unique page in the guide? - Indeed.

      3. Each page will have the article exactly the same on a new URL? - There will be minor changes to improve the flow of content in the guide (as the articles were created as individual pieces). But yes, for all practical purposes it would be pretty identical.

      4. Is it possible to share a link to an article and it's link in the guide? - Unfortunately, I just have a couple of articles prepared. Polishing the other articles. The guide will be ready only in another few weeks (mostly a month). Sorry :(

      But, our guide would look something like what we had created for remote working: Each of the sections we can see on the left would be separate articles too.


      1. I had a question around plagiarism - isn't the canonical tag supposed to prevent google from thinking that I am creating duplicate content? So, wouldn't it automatically protect me from any plagiarism problems?

      2. If canonicalization transfers link value to the original source, why would the second option of internal linking make more sense? I ask because wouldn't canonicalization establish the goal of having one true version.

      3. If we want the guide to rank instead of the blog, couldn't I just add canonical tags to the blog pointing to the corresponding page in the guide? I ask because the guide will be launched later, but such a structure (putting canonical in the blog) would achieve our goal of making the guide rank.


      Thanks for the long explanation and sorry for the additional questions :P.


      1. 1

        Thanks @karthik_2206 =)

        Have been finding IH really interesting. So much sharing. Love to help where I can.

        Technically the answer to your questions are yes, yes and yes. But...

        Canonical tags are a hint, it can decide to ignore it for various reasons. 301 redirects are a fact that it can't ignore.

        You can see here you have less control over what you want to accomplish by using a canonical tag.

        Another reason, why keep them both alive if you have one best version that you want your visitors to check anyway. You'll likely link to the guide on your site mostly. Also you've accomplished your goal of repurpusing the content. The 'old' version served its purpose. Time to say goodbye.

        Hence I would always use a 301 instead of canonical unless there's technical reasons that prevent a redirect from being possible. Keeps things tidy too.

        But again, nothing wrong with a phased approach! Your thinking is safe, canonicals should accomplish what you want.


        To add to your first question. I use that metaphore exactly for that reason. If the answer is yes, a canonical tag is what needs to be put in to place to prevent plagiarism==duplicate content. Though it always leads to the question of why keeping the other page. Technically canonical tags are a solution for a page that can be reached on a URL with different parameters, but don't change the information. Moving content from one place to another is historically meant for 301's.

        2nd question addition: canonicals don't create one true version. There's still two identical pieces of information of which Google can decide to override your canonical tag. Only a 301 redirect would lead to one version.

        1. 1

          Super @DocM20 - all these lines are like poetry to me :)

          To summarise:

          • Almost always, 301 redirects > canonical tags, unless it is technically not possible to do so.
          • When we use a 301 redirect, the backlinks to the original page are now attributed to the redirected page.

          Please let me know if this sounds good. Thanks for all the help :)

          1. 1

            Correct and good luck!

    2. 1

      Awesome answer! Appreciate the time you spent and the knowledge you shared. Happy to see more and more knowledgable people joining the community!

      1. 1