Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ask.com Joins Canonical Trio

It looks like the precedence has been set and Ask.com has opted to follow Google, Yahoo, and MSN in their quest to make issues raised by content duplication a thing of the past.

I recently wrote a post showing how website owners can take advantage of the new 'Canonical Links' to extract maximum value out of duplicated content.

Yesterday Ask.com announced their intention to join the big three through their official blog, in which Yufan Hu of Ask.com says: "The 'canonical' feature represents a timely, relevant, and positive partnership between major search engines. It is a step to ensuring more consistency with regard to treatment of duplicates among all of the engines. It will also put more control into the hands of site designers over how their sites are represented within the search indexes.

You can read the full announcement in their blog post entitled 'Ask is Going Canonical'

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Friday, 20 February 2009

Canonical Links and Content Duplication

For a long time now, search engines have been implementing stringent measures to stop website owners manipulating rankings through content duplication. The way the Internet has evolved over the recent years however, has meant that some sites have been running the risk of being unfairly penalised for content duplication caused more by the technology they are using rather than their intent.

In an effort to address this, the big three (Google, Yahoo, MSN) decided last week to support a common standard which aims to eradicate duplicate URLs within a site.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

The standard being introduced is very simple, and consists of no more than nominating a single URL (or "canonical" location if you're a search engine) and defining this on all other URLs where the same content is replicated.

Take the following URLs as an example:


These three URLs will display exactly the same content even though the page has three very distinct URL locations based on the origin of the visit and its optimisation.

The agreed standard requires no more than the following syntax being implemented within the <HEAD> section of the two dynamic URLs.

<link href="http://www.my-company.com/my-products/sun-glasses.aspx" rel="canonical"/>

Doing this, will make search engines aware of the preferred URL and pass on any PageRank and link equity the dynamic URLs may have gained across to the chosen URL.

Google guru Matt Cutts explains Canonical Linking on an interview for WebProNews. You can also find out more directly from Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

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Thursday, 19 February 2009

And the Brit Award goes to... Twitter!

Having spent last night sat in front of the TV watching the Brits, I begun to wonder how many people would be forming their own opinions based on what we liked and what we didn't.

With the help of Twitter, it didn't take long this morning for me to find out what my friends through of it, and I was intrigued by the mixed views on the event.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Having drawn my own conclusions last night, I wondered if the mix reaction was only based on my friends or whether this was in fact a true representation of the public in general.

Having sent myself on a quest to find this out, Twitter itself proved to be the answer to my question.

To get a full picture of what people using Twitter (even those you're not yet following) thought about the show, type "brits" in the Twitter Search box or alternatively see the results here.

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