SEO tip (circa 2009)

In my last blog post, I revisited some of my notes from the MIX08 conference.  While putting that post together, I noticed a few additional things worth mentioning in my notes from the MIX09 conference.  In particular, I came across a few useful notes about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and canonical URLs.

In my notes from MIX09, canonical URLs are defined (somewhat cryptically) as URLs that are reduced to the simplest and most significant form possible without loss of generality

This description is expanded upon with the following example and explanation.

Consider the following URL: domain.com/wordpress/index.php

In that URL, you should notice:

  • That there is no “www” prefix.  For your site,  decide whether to use “www” or not and ALWAYS reference your site same way
  • That "wordpress" is lowercase.  Always case things in the same manner, because some search engines might see "wordpress" and "WordPress" as two different things.
  • That index.php and simply "/" point to the same thing.  Once again, you should always reference your pages consistently.
    The reason to take note of these things is to ensure that search engines always see your site’s pages the same “canonical” way.  Don’t rely on the search engines to figure out that http://www.domain.com is the same as domain.com, and "wordpress" is the same as "WordPress", and so on.  If you DO rely on the search engines, and they DON’T resolve things correctly, then you’re splitting your page rank (instead of a single page ranked #1 at Google, you might have three pages ranked #5, #9, and #15 at Google).
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