Duplicate Content & URL Canonicalization

Before we get into this week’s tip, let me provide a definition for the term Canonicalization. “It is the process of converting data that has more than one possible representation into a “standard” canonical representation.” For SEO purposes this means it creates a definitive and unique page to represent more than one possible page on your site. You want to avoid duplicate pages on your site. Sometimes duplicate content is a result of two pages sharing the same information in two different files. Sometimes you have duplicate content because of the technology causing two different urls point to the same page. Both of these problems have simple solutions. It is important to correct this because search engines want to show only unique web pages and text. If your site has multiple pages with the same content possibly through a Content Management System (CMS) or through duplicate navigation, or because it actually exists in multiple versions, you are could be hurting your search engine ranking results. We all know how important linking is to any SEO campaign and if links pointing to different urls of the same information your link value will be diluted because 2 incoming links may point to one version and 3 links to another. It would be much better for all 5 links to point to one url. 301 Re-Direct to the Rescue The solution is to take any current duplicate pages and use a 301 re-direct to point all versions to a single, “canonical” version of the content or web page. Most often this problem can be found on a site’s homepage. For example: Search...

Create a Website Sitemap for SEO

Some SEO tips can be hard to explain, but this is one of the few that is relatively easy to do and can be done manually with small or large sites. Create a sitemap of your website. There are a few good reasons to do this. It allows easier indexing of your site by the search engines. In other words, it helps the search engines find all the pages on your site. Some websites only have a few of their pages in the search engines and this can be due to poor linking, sparse navigation or a host of other reasons. A sure-fire cure is to have a sitemap links to all of the major sections of your website. If you have a small website, linking to all the pages is a good idea. Web-crawlers will thank you for making their busy lives easier. It provides PageRank or link popularity to all pages it links to. If you read about SEO then you have read how important it is to have high-quality links pointing to your site from other sites. While this is true, don’t underestimate your own internal links pointing to your own pages. A sitemap can become another source of quality links with descriptive text for your own pages. Sitemaps help with usability and site navigation. You website users can now access any important page on the site with only two clicks. This allows for deeply nested pages to be found easier and not just by the search engine spiders but by people visiting your site. Making navigation easier by including a sitemap is just good business...

Comprehensive Article on Linkbaiting

Well, I was going to write a post on linkbaiting and while doing some research I came across a thorough linkbaiting article already. The author, Andy Hagans does a masterful and clever job of outlining the types of linkbait, the methods of linkbaiting and the reasons to use linkbait. He even goes into social media bookmarking for good measure. He notes that page titling is extremely important, but not just for SEO purposes, but to attract attention. He references Copyblogger’s 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work as a starting point when trying to create linkbait. I like the list so much I am adding it to my blog too. When creating titles for your linkbait here are some title templates to start with or a cheat sheet, if you will. Copyblogger’s title cheat sheet: Who Else Wants [blank]? The Secret of [blank] Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank] Little Known Ways to [blank] Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem] Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance] [Do something] like [world-class example] Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank] I won’t go into this any further, but visiting Andy Hagans’ Ultimate Guide to Linkbaiting and Social Media Marketing would be a worthwhile use of your...

SEO Haiku

While eating lunch today I decided to enrich my soul instead of my mind. Rather than research and read about SEO techniques, what Google is doing or test some SEO strategies, instead I decided to read Haikus. I had taken some literature classes at my university, VCU, and liked the simplicity of the Haiku. Yet, if done correctly, they also held deeper meaning, at least to the author. So I’ve attempted to combine the haiku with SEO and create an SEO Haiku. Much thanks to http://www.ahapoetry.com/haiartjr.htm for giving me a refresher course on the art of Haiku writing techniques. I found some good Haiku examples as well. Here are my first attempts at merging these two art forms. Yes, SEO is an art form. 😉 Enter keyword search View top five results, maybe Search begins anew Miserable George Googlebombing defeated Do links make the man? Search engine shows way Clicking now to search result Back and search again Ranking number one Many visitors view site No conversion…help! I used the 5-7-5 rule of syllables, as I like the restriction. If you would like to submit your own I would be happy to post and share your haikus or submit them as a comment. It was a nice...

Links To Your Site: Google Backlinks Reveals All

Google has posted about a new webmaster tool. It will allow webmasters to view backlink information which will show who links to your site, which pages are getting the links as well as both internal and external. This will certainly be helpful for webmasters and I applaud Google for allowing us insight, but I’m still bothered by this statement made by Google: “(Note that this may not be 100% of the external links to this page.)” Oh, well. Better than nothing and a step in the right direction. I believe Google wants cooperative partnerships with webmasters and ethical SEO companies and this is at least a nice gesture toward that goal. Time will tell, but the future looks a little brighter. As of Feb. 6, 2007 the Link tab was not yet showing in my Webmaster Tools, we’ll assume it will show up...