Canonical Rel Attribute Just a Band-Aid

A while back the big 3 announced the adoption of a new relationship attribute for the header link tag in order to specify a preferred version of a page where there may be different ways to access it and to help avoid issues with duplicate content. It’s nice to have an option for when you take over a badly built site where there isn’t a budget to rewrite a lot of code and do a million 301 redirects but this is just a band-aid on a larger problem.

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/main-slug/">

This is why architecture of a project is important and if you build it right the first time, you don’t have to worry about this being an issue. There are always times however that a bot will surprise you with some weird entry URL so as a guideline, it’s good to monitor your analytics and do simple 301 rewrites as they happen, if they happen. It’s good to know too that WordPress handles a lot of the heavy lifting for you already so if you have a WP site – you’re pretty much setup already.

Overtime we’ve seen canonical meta tags be useful in ecommerce applications, pagination, or for audits where you may not be able to change core site code. It’s helpful when there are child pages that don’t necessarily need to be indexed so you use the main product page as the canonical link for those, etc. But if you’re building from scratch – you had better not need them!

Read More:
5 common mistakes with rel=canonical
– Google, Specify Your Cononical
– Yahoo, Fighting Duplication
– SEOmoz has a really detailed write-up too.

Clean URLs for Good SEO

I need not delve into the technical details of percent-encoding to make my point regarding keeping your URLs clean as part of your on-site search optimization, but some basic coaching is in order. I see a couple repeat offenses that bother me and I would like to discuss them here briefly in hopes of raising some awareness of the situation.

TL;DR
– Use Dashes in URL’s NOT spaces or underscores
– Don’t use any special characters in your urls. Only letters, numbers, slashes, and dashes.

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What Foursquare 3 means to Small Business

Foursquare has always been about encouraging people to explore their town and discover new places and things to do and eat. By using tips and to-do’s and highlighting trending locations it provided an interesting way to find out what people liked, where they had previously been and what they thought about the place.

Version 3 of Foursquare has just been released and with it they’ve really revised the way users will interact and find venues – and because of that SMB’s have the ability to benefit more than ever before. Previously I wrote an article on “Local Search Marketing using Foursquare” which is still a great lead-in to this post as the same underlying reasons of why a business should use Foursquare to begin with still apply. But lets talk about what small business can get out of Foursquare 3.
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