While Google has recently announced its support of the canonical tag across different domains, Bing says it’s still working on supporting the canonical tag on a single domain, and suggests webmasters should rely on other means to manage duplicate content.
The rel=”canonical” link element was introduced earlier this year as a way for webmasters to define the canonical version of a page within a single domain. A Bing spokesperson says their “plan is to have this supported in the next several months,” and that they also plan to support cross-domain canonical tags, too:
“Based on how we are seeing canonical tags being used cross domain, we will support the largest users of legitimate cross domain tagging in roughly four months. Canonical tags for these users will behave in the same way that an intradomain canonical tag works. Our first concern in these cases is dealing with those who will try to game the system, not those who will use it properly, hence the phased rollout.”
Despite its planned support of the canonical tag, Bing says webmasters should essentially use it as a last resort.
“Our first and foremost advice is the same as it always has been: 301 redirects and good site design should be the primary focus of webmasters, with canonical tags picking up the slack when technical limitations impede other solutions.
Bing’s spokesperson pointed to this Bing Webmaster Center blog post with its advice for webmasters on handling duplicate content. Bing also says it’s focusing on “more scalable” solutions to removing duplicate content in its index and search results.