Syndication-Source Tag

A meta tag that Google introduced to show that a piece of content wasn’t the original, and then they took it away.

It came and it went

The syndication-source meta tag was introduced alongside the original-source tag in November 2010. It was an initiative to help identify original sources of news (to be used by news publishers) and to be used within Google News. However, on 1st June 2012, Google announced in a Google News Help Forum thread that “the tag has been deprecated”. They experimented with the tag and decided in a little over 18 months that it just wasn’t working. They also mention that news publishers could now use the “existing guidance in this area for Google Web Search”, i.e use the canonical tag (attribute).

What was the syndication-source?

Syndication-source was a meta tag that was supposed to be used by the news publishing world to help the identification of original news. Websites that were using syndicated content can place the syndication source tag on the content, effectively admitting to Google that their content is not the original and where to find the original. Furthermore, Google also released the original-source tag which could be used by news publishers to stake their claim at producing the original content. The theory was that the open, truthful and honest community of news publication would use both of these tags to claim the original content and own up to the syndicated content.

The code for syndication source was to be placed in the <head>of an html document with the other meta data:

meta name=”syndication-source”

Whilst Google did not specifically announce the deprecation of the original-source tag, one can assume that because they were to be used in tandem that the original-source tag was not such a big hit either! The code for the original-source meta tag was:

meta name “original-source” content=””

What should you use instead of the <syndication-source>  tag?

Whilst this only affected those with content being returned in the Google News section, Google’s deprecation announcement was fairly short and vague, stating that Google News will no follow the same rules as web search. We can then presume that if you are scraping content that using the canonical tag will suffice. See our guide on when to use and how to implement a canonical tag for more information. It would appear that Google decided that it was unnecessary for news publishers to be using different tags to normal websites – makes sense to get rid of one of them!

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