Google & Bing Disagree On Rel=Canonical Implementation

Google vs Bing Rel=Canonical

Bing recently posted an article:  Managing redirects – 301s, 302s and canonicals

As someone that works with Enterprise level sites on a regular basis, I deal with duplicate content & the canonical tag a lot. What really jumped out in Duanne’s article is this (emphasis added is my own):

Something else you need to keep in mind when using the rel=canonical is that it was never intended to appear across large numbers of pages.  We’re already seeing a lot of implementations where the command is being used incorrectly.  To be clear, using the rel=canonical doesn’t really hurt you.  But, it doesn’t help us trust the signal when you use it incorrectly across thousands of pages, yet correctly across a few others on your website.

A lot of websites have rel=canonicals in place as placeholders within their page code.  Its best to leave them blank rather than point them at themselves.  Pointing a rel=canonical at the page it is installed in essentially tells us “this page is a copy of itself.  Please pass any value from itself to itself.  No need for that.

This surprised me as it contradicts what we’ve been told by Google, and also contradicts my opinions on best practices for the canonical tag. I have a deep respect for Duanne, so I’m only raising this as an issue because the rel=canonical tag is supposed to be jointly supported by Google & Bing, yet we’re getting very different direction on how it should be used.

For instance, in this Google Webmaster Help video (H/T to James Constable for the link), Matt Cutts says “it doesn’t hurt to have this on every page of your site.”

Likewise, in the Google Blog, Maile Ohye of Google says “Yes, it’s absolutely okay to have a self-referential rel=”canonical”. It won’t harm the system and additionally, by including a self-reference you better ensure that your mirrors have a rel=”canonical” to you.”

Further evidence Google says its okay to have both a self-referential rel=canonical tag as well as to use the canonical tag site-wide can be found in this SEOmoz post, as well as another Google Webmaster Help video from Matt Cutts saying its okay.

I asked some of the top SEO minds on Twitter as to their opinion, and they all seem to support the notion that is okay to use the canonical tag site-wide and include self-referential canonical tags. Here are their responses:

 @Thos003: I use rel=canonical on it’s own page to deal with URL strings. I find this article disturbing

@rbucich: of course you can! Either I don’t understand the question or the person who said no doesn’t

@ajkohn: Yes. I think rel=canonical is a safeguard for HTML barnacles that might attach themselves to the canonical URL.

@james_constable: YES it needs to for all ad tracking, parameter non sense you need to avoid dups.

@dannysullivan: i wasn’t aware this was a problem. i guess i don’t see that it is. google said it wasn’t bit.ly/pxoxwx

@halvorsen I do.

So, it seems were at an impasse – what are your thoughts – is it okay to use the rel=canonical tag sitewide? Is it okay to use the rel=canonical tag on the canonical version of the page?

Will you change your recommendations to clients (or your own sites) on how they should use the rel=canonical tag based on Bing’s latest blog post?

Your comments are appreciated.

**Update @MattCutts chimes in:

@nickroshon certainly it won’t mess things up with Google to do it on every page. Can’t speak for MSFT/Bing, of course. (link)

@nickroshon self-loops on canonical pages are fine. Otherwise you’re stuck doing per-page logic for every page; not fun. (link)

Matt Cutts tweets back

**Update 2: This post has gotten some great conversation going, and also picked up by a few other sites, so I wanted to link out to that as well. It appears the SEO community finds this to be an important issue, and it’s obvious duplicate content is the thorn in everyone’s side…thanks to all that have shared my post!

How Brands Can Leverage Authorship Markup

Google Authorship Markup for Brands

Today on the Great Finds blog my colleague Matt Gagen and I discuss Google’s Authorship Markup tag, and how and why brands should implement this markup tag when it becomes available. On my personal blogs I’ve already implemented the Authorship Markup, although sadly Google still hasn’t recognized it yet even four weeks after implementation. My guess is that Authorship Markup is still in a “beta” phase but I expect it to make a big impact to the SERP in the near future, especially when Google+ becomes available to brands. Check out a brief preview of the post below, then click below to read the post in its entirety on iCrossing.com.

In June, Google announced support forAuthorship Markup. This exciting development, overlooked by many, could create huge opportunities for brands and individuals to claim their content, see improvements in click-through rates, integrate their owned media more effectively with social, and possibly improve their search rankings.

Members of Google’s web spam team are excited about the potential of this markup to help improve search results. But the initial support of this new markup has one big drawback: Google is not supporting brands that embrace Authorship Markup. Nevertheless, brands need to embrace Authorship Markup especially at a time when brands must think like publishers of useful content to succeed.

Read the full post here: Why Brands Must Claim Their Own Content with Google Authorship Markup

***Update: My Authorship Markup is now being recognized for my car blog (although not for this blog or my travel blog). This indicates to me that Google is definitely giving preference to higher traffic blogs and trigger this markup on a case-by-case basis, and not to just anyone who marks up their site hoping for a pretty snippet in the SERP. Anyway, check it out!

Authorship markup Nick Roshon

 

 

The #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player Of All Time

Nick Roshon - the #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player of All Time

Nick Roshon - the #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player of All Time

Who is the #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player Of All Time?

According to Google*, known for its sophisticated ranking mechanisms, Nick Roshon is ranked “The #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player Of All Time”

I am humbled by such recognition.

I’d like to thank everyone that helped me get where I am today, especially you, Bill, for helping me practice and hone my advanced table tennis skills such as the patent pending Roshon Slam™, the @collinlc trick serve, and of course my favorite – the “don’t call it a comeback” comeback.

* because I rank #1 for “The #1 Greatest Table Tennis Player of All Time” in Google Search.

A cool example of crowd sourced content – OSU Club of Erie County

I stumbled upon the picture above while doing a vanity search for my name (because who in search doesn’t do vanity searches at least every once in a while!) and thought this was a cool example of crowd sourced content.

The Erie County chapter of the Ohio State University alumni association lets members submit photos of them doing the O-H-I-O around the globe. The above picture was taken in a remote stream outside of Cody, Wyoming after a great day of fly fishing.

Brands, organizations, and yes, even universities can leverage UGC to show personality and build brand enthusiasm.

Cool stuff!

How Bing Could Own 40% Of the Search Market

In my latest post on the iCrossing Great Finds blog, I talk about how a partnership between Firefox & Bing could lead to a substantial gain in search market share for Bing, as well as a huge money maker for Firefox. Check out a short excerpt below, then head over to the Great Finds blog to read more!

Brands that invest in search engine marketing pay close attention to the market share of search engines like Google and Bing to inform their search spend. Hence search practitioners closely review monthly market share reports like this one – a process akin to watching grass grow given that market shares change by a fraction of a percent at most each month.

But recently a partnership with Yahoo! allowed Bing to increase its market share significantly (although mostly at the expense of Yahoo!). Soon Mozilla’s Firefox may force marketers to re-examine their search spend. A contract between Firefox and Google – which makes Google the default search engine for the Firefox browser – is set to expire in November 2011.

If Bing takes advantage of this situation by supplanting Google as the default Firefox browser, Bing could end up owning about 40 percent of the search market.

Read more over at Great Finds

I’m not a Google Hater…

I’ve had a few posts about Google recently that were somewhat critical. I think it surprised people given how highly I’ve spoken of Google in the past…one friend even went as far as to call me a “Google Hater.”

I thought I’d clear the air – I’m not a Google hater. 

On the contrary, I’m still a Google lover. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • They have the best search engine bar none
  • They have the best advertising product/platform
  • Gmail is great (although I also use Hotmail)
  • Chrome is a pretty slick browser
  • Google Maps is light years better than MapQuest or Bing Maps
  • I’d love to get a Chromebook
  • I use an Android phone and think its a great product, although it’s no iPhone
  • Their story & company mission are admirable & inspiring

I have plenty of love for (most) Google products. 

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Why I got Banned from AdSense & An Open Letter To Google On How They Should Fix It

The short answer is – I still don’t know why my Google AdSense account was disabled.

All I got was a series of automated emails explaining why they can’t tell me why my account was disabled.

I started using AdSense in June of 2009, and at the time of being disabled, I had AdSense ads appearing on four sites, and in a good month would make maybe $50 in revenue.

A simple review of the AdSense policies makes it clear beyond a reasonable doubt that my websites fall well within Google’s guidelines. Each site had 100% unique & family friendly content, and I was by no means tricking or encouraging anyone to click my ads, I never clicked on my own ads, and as far as I can tell, I was 100% compliant with their tips & guidelines.

After a month or two of thought, here are my best guesses as to what might have happened:

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Counterpoint: Google+ Is a Plus Size Flop Compared to Facebook

Google+ has launched to much fan-fare and hype. I think it’s just that – hype – and is destined to be another one of Google’s failed attempts at social media. While I’m intentionally being provocative here, and obviously can’t predict the future, I’m fairly confident in making such a bold claim. Here’s why:

Google+ has some neat features, which have been examined thoroughly by many people much smarter than I. Many marketers, such as my good friend Richard Melick, have great excitement for Google+ to change the face of social media marketing. Surely, features such as Circles & Hangouts are pretty slick. But other than a few bells & whistles, it’s fundamentally no different than the core purpose & functionality of Facebook – to share updates, pictures, videos & more with your friends. The major differences are just the location (facebook.com versus google.com) and the nomenclature (groups versus circles).

With so little differentiating the two, I don’t think Google+ has a chance at ever being a “Facebook Killer”

Here’s why I think Google+ is a flop:

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Google lauches City Pages and Additional Local Search Features

In my latest post on the iCrossing Great Finds blog, I talk about Google’s latest efforts at improving local search and driving more visitors to to Google Places Pages. The Local Search game is getting very interesting! Here is a brief excerpt, head over to the iCrossing blog for more!

Local businesses take note: Google has begun to roll out City Pages for select cities, currently including PortlandAustinSan Diego and Madison, Wisconsin, and has indicated plans to roll out these pages to more cities soon. Google also launched a number of updates to local search as announced at its Inside Searchpress conference this week. These developments are crucial to anyone who runs a local business or is in charge of marketing for national companies with local franchises. This post explains what you need to know to improve your local search visibility in Google.

Read more here

15 Takeaways from the Google Webmaster Live Chat with Matt Cutts

Over at the iCrossing Great Finds blog I talk about a recent Live Chat with Google’s Matt Cutts, and some takeways that search marketers can use to learn more about SEO as well as become better communicators with Google. Check out the brief excerpt below, then head over to the iCrossing blog for more!

Today Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, hosted the first-ever live broadcast ofGoogle Webmaster Central on YouTube. For those of us lucky enough to be able to tune into the broadcast (it was announced on short notice), Matt shared some great takeaways about search engine optimization (SEO), how to communicate with Matt Cutts, and Google in general. Here are some takeaways about Matt, Google, and SEO.

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