The Canonical tag has many advantages in SEO. But where light is, sometimes shadows emerge and now spammers have managed to abuse the tag and made sure that there are massive ranking losses. Especially annoying: This type of attack is difficult to detect because everything happens without any links. The spook from the spammers was found by Bill Hartzer from Texas, who discovered the method at a customer.
Hartzer has been in the SEO sector for about 20 years and as a customer lost a lot of his ranking without being aware of any mistakes, Hartzer took care of the matter. First, there was really nothing to find and the deteriorated ranking was a lot of puzzles – then the SEO found that a spammer had copied the head of the page and with a Canonical tag, expanded it with not just beneficial content. As a result, Google associated the non-adult site with porn and penalized it for spam content.
So there is a new form of negative SEO, which is no longer built on the link building but simply uses the Canonical tag. The tag, which is actually used to identify togetherness on multiple pages of similar content from the same creator, is now being used to link clean pages to spam content, rendering them in a bad light. Such manipulations are difficult to discover and even Hartzer succeeded only by accident. A tool that evaluates the Canonical signals is often the only way to come to terms with this type of negative SEO.
What can you do when you are affected? There are some possibilities, but none are really good. It makes sense to send a spam report to Google. But you must have a lot of patience because the waiting times are long and every day with a bad ranking can cost in most cases, a lot of money. It is also possible to change the domain name or possibly move to HTTPS, if that has not happened yet. But really helpful is none of these solutions.