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Google Adds URL Parameter Options to Google Webmaster Tools

URL Parameters In 2009, Google launched the parameter handling feature of Google webmaster tools, which enabled site owners to specify the parameters on their site that were optional vs. required.  A year later, they improved this feature by providing an option for a default value. Google says that they've seen a positive impact from the usage of those tools thus far." Now, they've improved the feature again, by enabling site owners to specify how a parameter changes the content of the page. My original article on parameter handling describes the issues that parameters can cause with how search engines [...]


Google On Designing Mobile Friendly Websites

Pierre Far from Google wrote a blog post on how to design mobile friendly websites while considering Google's webmaster guidelines and best practices. I've pulled out the key points from this post in bullet format: Google differentiates between traditional mobile phones and smartphones. Google has two bots: Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Googlebot crawls desktop-browser type of webpages and content embedded in them and Googlebot-Mobile crawls mobile content. Currently only traditional phones are supported with special useragent strings within Googlebot-Mobile, not smartphones (this [...]


Google Creates “Source” Meta Tags To Help ID Original News Sources

With the amount of content published online seeming to expand dramatically every year, Google says it's experimenting with two new meta tags that it hopes will help it identify the original sources of online content. They're called syndication-source and original-source and here's a look at what they do and how publishers can use them. What Is Syndication-Source? Web sites that syndicate their content to others can use the syndication-source meta tag to give Google a signal that theirs is the one that should be included in Google News. In a perfect world, the tag will be used by both the [...]


Mobile SEO Tip: Transcoding Services Can Dilute Link Popularity

Usablenet is one of the most popular mobile web platforms available, because they provide a turnkey solution for businesses that are looking to take advantage of mobile web traffic. According to their web site, they have built mobile solutions for over 300 companies, many of which are Fortune 100 companies like Dell, Delta Air, Walgreens and Sears. They’re popular because they make it easy for a brand to leverage standard web content for the mobile user. However, if you’re considering using a solution like this for your company, understand that a solution like Usablenet can index multi [...]


According To Google, The BBC = AmirGabriel.com

Here's a weird one. Try a search for the BBC TV series Doctor Who on Google. You'll find the official site, but look closely at the domain name. It's amirgabriel.com, as shown above -- not bbc.co.uk as it should be. What's up with that? Has the BBC undergone a transformation in the way Doctor Who himself undergoes? It's not a case of someone redirecting their domain over to the BBC and somehow "hijacking" the listing, a problem more common a few years ago. That's because the domain doesn't do a redirection, take you from one place over to the BBC. Instead, it "resolves" directly to t [...]


Don’t Penalize Yourself: Mobile Sites Are Not Duplicate Content

One of the great things about SEO is the almost scientific way the community approaches the unknown to discover something true that they can apply to their sites. This applied to desktop SEO more than ever in the early 2000s, prior to SEOMoz’s first ranking factors study, when pioneers in the field experimented with their web properties to see which changes would drive the most traffic, and eventually conversions. While this still happens in desktop SEO, I think it happens more now in areas like video, mobile and social SEO, where SEOs are still trying to discover how non-web search beha [...]


Bing & Yahoo Soon To Support Canonical Tag

More than a year since the three major search engines united to announce the canonical tag, neither Bing nor Yahoo formally support it. But that could be changing soon. Speaking during the "Ask the Search Engines" session at SMX West on Thursday, reps from both search engines said they're in the process of supporting rel=canonical right now. Bing's Sasi Parthasarathy told attendees that canonical tag support should be in place by the end of March or early April. Arnab Bhattacharjee of Yahoo said they're currently rolling out support of the tag, but cautioned that Yahoo will only use it " [...]


Bing Still Working On Canonical Tag Support, Suggests Other Ways To Manage Duplicate Content

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 [...]


Google Supports Cross-Domain ‘Canonical Tag’

Many webmasters will be happy to know that Google has announced its support for using the rel="canonical" link element across different domains. This is important news because when the canonical tag (as it's become known) was introduced by all three search engines during our SMX West Conference this past February, they only supported its use inside a single domain. You could use the tag, for example, to indicate that yourdomain.com/page1.html was the canonical version of yourdomain.com/page2.html, and avoid duplicate content issues by doing so. Now, if you have a legitimate reason to have s [...]


Google Lets You Tell Them Which URL Parameters To Ignore

A new feature has appeared in the Site Configuration Settings Sections of Google Webmaster Tools. The setting, called Parameter Handling, enables site owners to specify up to 15 parameters that Google should ignore when crawling and indexing the site. Google lists the parameters they’ve found in the URLs on your site, and indicates whether or not they think they those parameters are extraneous (with a suggested "Ignore" or "Don’t ignore". You can confirm or reject those suggestions and can add parameters that aren’t listed. So what does this mean for site owners? The primary [...]


Google Loses “Backwards Compatibility” On Paid Link Blocking & PageRank Sculpting

Imagine that you fired up your computer and found that a bunch of your programs no longer worked, because behind the scenes, the operating system had been upgraded without any backwards compatibility. That's what happened this week with Google. Some things that were working just fine now are broken, because Google isn't being backwards compatible. And that's fairly unprecedented. Don't panic. One of the changes really shouldn't hurt many sites, impacting only a "power SEO" technique commonly called PageRank sculpting that I'd say fairly few use. The other has a bigger impact and pote [...]


SEOs Say AOL’s Love.com Feels More Like A One-Night Stand

AOL recently soft-launched Love.com, which it advertises as a collection of "topic blogs" that "provide a central view into what the world is loving now." But it's really an SEO play. Give the site any subdomain under the sun, and Love.com will make a new site on-the-fly with content scraped from news sites, blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter messages and more. Like this: Everybody loves cold sores, right? Well, not everybody loves Love.com. Says Dave Naylor: "Approximately 1 bazillion keyword specific subdomains filled with scraped content and ads? Are AOL so desperate that they [...]


Google’s Advice On Using The New Canonical Tag

A month ago, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced they will be supporting a new canonical tag that allows you to tell search engines that page X is a duplicate page to page Z. In a way, it is a 301 redirect, without the physical redirect. The tag is incredibly powerful, as are 301 redirects and using this tag should be done with caution and slowly. Matt Cutts posted a new video explaining how one should go about using this tag, being that it is so new. Here is the video: [...]


Google, Yahoo & Microsoft Unite On “Canonical Tag” To Reduce Duplicate Content Clutter

The web is full of duplicate content. Search engines try to index and display the original or "canonical" version. Searchers only want to see one version in results. And site owners worry that if search engines find multiple versions of a page, their link credit will be diluted and they'll lose ranking. Today, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (links are to their separate announcements) have united to offer a way to reduce duplicate content clutter and make things easier for everyone. Webmasters rejoice! Worried about duplicate content on your site? Want to know what "canonical" means? Read on fo [...]


Google Offers Duplicate Content Tips Roundup

Struggling with duplicate content woes? Google's done a blog post today to try and provide further advice and guidance. Among the highlights: Including a preferred URL in sitemaps submitted to Google can increase the chances that the URL you want is used, in cases where content can be found within your own site in different ways.   Consider using 301 redirects, blocking, consistent linking, and other tips covered in this and this, which are official Google blog posts.   To deal with offsite content that ranks above you, ensure that your site itself is being crawled and not-pena [...]


Search Illustrated: How A Search Engine Determines Duplicate Content

With so much good content on the web, it's inevitable that the same information will be displayed many times over. Whether it's a blog post pointing to good statistics, an RSS feed pulled into a complementary site, or blatantly copied material, duplicate content can be an issue. This week's infographic shows how search engines make distinctions between original and duplicate content: Graphic by Elliance, an eMarketing firm specializing in results-driven search engine marketing, web site design, and outbound eMarketing campaigns. The firm is the creator of the ennect online marketing to [...]


Got Duplicate Content? Don’t Let It Dilute Your SEO Efforts

"Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink," laments a sailor adrift in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The poor guy needs water to say alive—and he’s surrounded by it— yet if he drinks it, the salt content will kill him. As a search marketer, perhaps you can relate. Much like our sailor friend, you’re surrounded by what you need—namely, content—which, of course, is great for your search presence. Yet too much of the same content can be... well, hazardous. A little salt can’t hurt, right? Thumbing through a retail catalo [...]


Yahoo Site Explorer Adds Dynamic URL Rewriting Tool

The Yahoo Search Blog announced a new Site Explorer feature that enables webmasters to inform Yahoo about dynamic URLs that might be creating duplicate content issues or crawl barriers. The new feature is named "Dynamic URL Rewriting," and it allows webmasters to view potential duplicate content issues and have Yahoo rewrite those URLs at the index level. Yahoo allows you to define which URL is the primary, and the remaining URLs will be dynamically rewritten to that primary URL. One of the most discussed advanced topics in SEO is duplicate content. Duplicate content can often be generate [...]


Understanding Search Engines Duplicate Content Issues

I admit it. I am a search engine geek. Because I have a passion for understanding search usability, one of my particular interests is duplicate content filtering. If you want to really irritate searchers, present the same content to them in all or most of the top 10 positions in search results. In the past, before search engines became effective at name results clustering, many search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, including myself, considered it quite the accomplishment to help client sites appear in the majority of the top 30 search results. I remember when one of my client [...]


FeedBurner Tips On Avoiding Duplicate Content

What's Up With That? Vol. 3: SEO at the FeedBurner blog answers a number of common questions people have about how search engines interact with web feeds, based in part on FeedBurner having consulted with Google and Yahoo. Among these are tips on easing duplicate content concerns. Some people like (and others dislike) when a search engine lists both their feed and their web site in search results. One suggestion is to do a 302 "temporary" redirect, from your own feed to a FeedBurner-hosted version. This ensures that if you ever stop using the FeedBurner version, your original fe [...]


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