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Is it Ethical To Use Cross Domain Rel=Canonical Tags On Websites?

Need help in rel=canonical tag implemention

     
12:02 pm on Sep 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello folks I have been researching for a while against industry giants link building strategy and found an strange practice which initially looks grey hat.

For suppose you are website development agency which build new website for different brand. Your business website is:
www.example.com

Every time you build new website for stagging purpose you create sub domain on your website then push it live on main domain.

clientwebsite.example.com

Note the above website is sub domain of example.com

After making it live by default you put rel="clientwebsite.example.com" tag in every client main website.

What I have observed is that rel=canonical tell Google that there are multiple copies of same page referring the actual version.

Similarly when any client website build links it pass the authority to sub domain of clientwebsite.example.com and links can be seen in example.com profile by using any backlink tool.

Strange but fishy technique to build links. Whereas when you search the client name in Google you get actual website.

Note: Both the version are getting index by Google I have manually check around 20 to 30 different sites.
12:45 pm on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So they are presenting their staging site copy as the real site and the clients actual site as the copy? Of course its unethical - it is blatanctly cheating the client.

It would be OK if they had agreed it with the client, but I think that is highly unlikely.
2:06 pm on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't think so that client are much aware I guess so but I am amaze to see that they are getting around 100 backlinks from 30 to 40 unique domain. Google is also ranking their article in top results without any hassle. I was wondering to test something similar but though to ask other before doing it. What do you recommend?
3:04 pm on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Nothing unethical. There is nothing going on.

Subdomain Receives no Link Equity
A subdomain stands alone and receives no link equity from the main domain. It's considered it's own website. So if there are no links from the main domain to the subdomain, there is zero link equity.

Staged Sites are Blocked by Robots.txt
Staged sites are blocked by the Robots.txt. This is important to do because if it's not blocked then the staged site is a live clone of the client's site, live on the web. Not good.

Why Rel-Canonical?
It's a superfluous practice to use a rel canonical to the client site. There is no benefit. There is no reason to do it.

A Live Clone Site May Actually Be a Sign of Incompetence
Going just by the statements made in the original post, I would not consider the practice unethical. But I do consider it incompetent.

The staged site should ideally be taken down as this will benefit the client more than having a (presumably) live clone online.
2:16 am on Sept 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Strange but fishy technique
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
3:04 pm on Sept 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@martinbuster, if I understood correctly they are using rel=canonical from the current site, not to the client site. Can you confirm @abdulsamihameed
6:26 pm on Sept 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ohhhh.... so they're putting rel canonical from the Client Site to the subdomain of the Web Design site?

That makes even less sense. It doesn't benefit the web design site since the links go to the subdomain.

Unless they put a 301 redirect. But there is still one more hurdle to benefiting from those links because the 301s have to be a one to one match to equivalent pages. Otherwise, as I understand it, the ranking benefit doesn't pass.
1:47 pm on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That makes even less sense. It doesn't benefit the web design site since the links go to the subdomain.


Do they know that!?

Unless they put a 301 redirect. But there is still one more hurdle to benefiting from those links because the 301s have to be a one to one match to equivalent pages.


Would not be difficult to do later if its all on the same server. Make the site appear at example.com/clientwebsite as well as clientwebsite.example.com