Andy Paddock

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Canonical Conundrum — December 10, 2012

Canonical Conundrum

google-seoNot so much a conundrum as the use of Canonical links for SEO is well documented but my angle is, as usual a little bit different.

The setup: We have a secure extranet and recently added two sites that had existed for some time on the internet and had a fairly decent page rank (in google at least) they both retained a public page for a period of a few months to advertise the fact they had moved.

The Issue: Google bot had spidered the sites but came up against our login page so updated it’s title and description but decided the original url was of greater importance than the actual url of our login page. The killer problem concerns our single sign on solution that remembers the URL you click on. The sequence would be as follows:

  1. User searches for Forces Gateway (now Defence Gateway).
  2. Google displays the Title and Description of the Defence Gateway Page but retains the url of one of the two former public sites.
  3. User clicks on link and logs in.
  4. Single sign on directs user to original url and not to the Defence Gateway page.

The Solution: It was very simple, we added a canonical link to each page and within a few days google had the correct url matched to the title and description.

Key statements from the Google Webmaster’s Help pages

Why specify a canonical page?

It’s common for a site to have several pages listing the same set of products. For example, one page might display products sorted in alphabetical order, while other pages display the same products listed by price or by rating. For example:

http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&trackingid=1234567&sort=alpha&sessionid=5678asfasdfasfd
http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&trackingid=1234567&sort=price&sessionid=5678asfasdfasfd

If Google knows that these pages have the same content, we may index only one version for our search results. Our algorithms select the page we think best answers the user’s query. Now, however, users can specify a canonical page to search engines by adding a <link> element with the attribute rel="canonical" to the <head> section of the non-canonical version of the page. Adding this link and attribute lets site owners identify sets of identical content and suggest to Google: “Of all these pages with identical content, this page is themost useful. Please prioritize it in search results.”

Is rel=”canonical” a suggestion or a directive?

This new option lets site owners suggest the version of a page that Google should treat as canonical. Google will take this into account, in conjunction with other signals, when determining which URL sets contain identical content, and calculating the most relevant of these pages to display in search results.

Google Music vs. Itunes & Amazon [infographic] — December 8, 2012
Falling in Love Again — December 7, 2012

Falling in Love Again

Image

Maybe love is not the right word for it but after the disappointment of Huddle my trial account of Podio has been a revelation of biblical proportions.

I’ve been aware of Huddle for some time now but my work has never been taken in that direction so I’ve just dabbled in and out with no real identifiable requirement to use any Social Enterprise offering. Our requirements have recently identified at least a greater need to investigate Social Enterprise so we have started testing and setting up meetings to have the inevitable mind blowing price tag revealed.

I opened trial accounts for Huddle, Jive, Social Cast and finally Podio following a recommendation from RackSpace. Huddle instantly died a death as all they seem to be pushing is their security credentials and not much else. Jive started to rise to the top of the tree mainly through a recommendation from Paul McTurk.

After a recommendation from RackSpace I had a look at Podio and was instantly taken with it’s simplicity but also it’s potential to be as complicated as you want it to be. It doesn’t set it’s self up as an addition to something else or indeed need any other software to perform it’s tasks.

The only elephant in the room is the lack of versioning control for documents but Podio is so good it makes you question why you need to version control a document that’s more than likely being stored in SharePoint which has it’s own version control.

The Pension Trap You Shouldn’t Escape From — September 7, 2012

The Pension Trap You Shouldn’t Escape From

To put some meat on the bone and to add the opinion of a serving soldier please bear with me while I bleat on for a few minutes.

The facts are out there and the injustice is obvious and can’t in my opinion be excused, but I have a different angle.

I have not got long left to serve in the Army and am what some may say pension trapped, I’m so far into my full service that if I decided to leave it would dramatically reduce my pension. On the other hand If I decided to leave early I would not get a pension but would potentially be more employable.

I’m happy to stay and risk my age impacting on my ability to start a new career but I’ll have the buffer of my pension to soften the blow. These few good men are in the same position but have just had the safety net ripped away.

Related Links

Pension Justice for Troops – e-petition

Google Stole my Luck — April 23, 2012

Google Stole my Luck

Google Instant is a search enhancement that shows results as you type, it also has the annoying side effect of killing off the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

“So what” I hear you all shout, well if you’ve spent some time and effort getting yourself to the top of the google search results you no longer get any joy from the Lucky Button.

When Google Instant is disabled, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the homepage takes you directly to the first webpage that returns for your query. When you use the feature, you won’t see the other search results at all.

If you don’t want to see results as you type, you can turn off Google Instant by visiting your Preferences page.

So what are you waiting for get it turned off and return to russian roulette searching.

Facebook for Android now updated to version 1.9 — April 22, 2012
I’m getting an Ice Cream Sandwich — April 9, 2012

I’m getting an Ice Cream Sandwich

The suspense is killing me, after an uneventful Easter weekend I got the system update symbol on my HTC Sensation. I wonder if my Flyer will be far behind?

As I type it’s still installing and I doubt I’ll have any feedback before tomorrow so I’ll save the post until I’ve had more time to explore.

Already have the list of enhancements for me to look over from the Android site.

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