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The Link Canonical Tag: Good Guy or Bad Guy? by Adam Audette - SMX Advanced 2009


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Is the link canonical tag a good guy wearing a white hat, or a bad guy wearing a black hat? This presentation discusses usage of the link canonical, and includes plenty of Bonanza for good measure.

Published in: Technology, Business

The Link Canonical Tag: Good Guy or Bad Guy? by Adam Audette - SMX Advanced 2009

  1. The Link Canonical Tag Adam Audette SEO with Many Hats
  2. There’s a new gun in town!
  3. (Just don’t wear it like Joe)
  4. I’m the SEO with many hats (and they’re all white)
  5. Brief Background <ul><li>2 nd generation search marketer </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>John Audette, Outrider </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>President at AudetteMedia, Inc </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search Marketing Boutique </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Oversee SEO at Zappos </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With Zappos since 2001 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lead SEO Strategy for International Agency </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Key partnership with AudetteMedia </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. “ That new link canonical guy looks cool!”
  7. “ What’s the latest on Sphinn...?”
  8. “ Just a sec, I gotta tweet that lunch we had....”
  9. The Link Canonical Tag <ul><li>It’s a tad confusing </li></ul><ul><li>For duplicate content, but... </li></ul><ul><li>...can be used in other creative ways </li></ul><ul><li>It has potential to break your site </li></ul>
  10. The Good <ul><li>Darn easy to implement </li></ul><ul><li>Appears to work </li></ul><ul><li>Allegedly passes anchor text and PR </li></ul><ul><li>Useful for faceted / sorted URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Can be good for temporary fixes </li></ul>
  11. The Bad <ul><li>Like a ‘poor man’s’ 301 </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful + New/Untested + Easy to implement = Potential for FAIL </li></ul><ul><li>Not a replacement for fundamental URL structure </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t actually solve duplicate content </li></ul><ul><li>May be better to redirect </li></ul>
  12. Watch out for “Mr Bad Guy”
  13. “ The name’s LC...”
  14. “ Pa, LC’s got me all tied up!”
  15. “ It says here comment tags work good for SEO!”
  16. “ Aw crap, printing out twitter feeds just don’t work!!”
  17. Ideas & Examples from the Field
  18. <ul><li>ZFC URL handler </li></ul><ul><li>Does fancy stuff with URLs </li></ul><ul><li>But duplicate content will still happen </li></ul><ul><li>And doesn’t address certain scenarios </li></ul>
  19. <ul><li>Possibly deploying link canonical: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Plurals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Faceted / sorted URLs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-domains </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. <ul><li>Possible link canonical usage: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Artist pages (PageRank split) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main Category Pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Temporary solutions </li></ul></ul>
  21. 125 backlinks 120 backlinks
  22. <ul><li>Possible deployment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-domains </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>etc... </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. <ul><li>Google can use it: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  24. What if… <ul><li>What if a redesign was being deployed in ~6 months? </li></ul><ul><li>What if you needed some quick-wins? </li></ul><ul><li>What if URLs were going to change? </li></ul>
  25. “ Try it... if ya got the guts!”
  26. %22_ref = 200 Link canonical target = (sort of a 301) 200 404 301 302 The search result updates
  27. %22_ref = 404 Link canonical target = (sort of a 301) 200 404 301 302 Probably a bad idea
  28. %22_ref = 301 Link canonical target = (sort of a 301) 200 - finished 404 - bad idea 301 302 Canonical target 301 redirects back to parent URL Does this create a loop? %22_ref
  29. %22_ref = 302 Link canonical target = (sort of a 301) 200 - best case 404 - bad idea 301 - loop? 302 Canonical target 302 redirects back to parent URL Search result should remain %22_ref
  30. “ Rescue me from LC’s trap!”
  31. “ Let’s redirect the old way from now on, Joe.”
  32. Thank you! Adam Audette @audette