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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is Dominating Search Results Near Yours?

I'm a long-time subscriber to Google News and Blog alerts. They're a great way to stay up to date with any topic and I subscribe to several alerts on subjects, companies and categories I'm interested in across a wide range of topics. Something rather startling has occurred to me in watching those results across multiple categories. The new site is dominating search results for both news and non-news (blog, web) alerts.

Also noted is the interesting fact that many more results appear across dozens of other search results. Since I make my living optimizing search, this tends to stand out for me more than it has for friends and relatives I've asked about it. So tell me - Are you seeing any of your search terms threatened by

Because they are considered a "News" source, the site gets indexed instantly for almost any topic. Their "News" results appear in Google Universal and Yahoo Blended search results in the top five rankings.

Interestingly, you needn't be a trained journalist to write for and it appears they are actively recruiting writers.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to review their site structure or on-page optimization efforts - but whatever they are doing, it is landing the site in lots of top ranked spots for hotly contested search phrases. This will be interesting to watch.

Meanwhile, take a look at the video below for the root of the story, which is tied to the demise of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver - especially since the biggest name behind the is Denver Billionaire, Philip Anschutz. The video below includes an interview with CEO Michael Sherrod

They are using the tilde for the first time in years in their URL's. I thought that had died long ago. Interesting trend to watch. I also see that Google news shows over 28,498 results for in their site search. More than the 9600 for the New York Times or the 7500 for the Boston Globe. Hmmm - that bears watching as well.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Canonical URL Link Element - Not Meta Tag

Last week we learned of the magical new Link Element which was announced at SMX West which was purported to resolve a longstanding problem with duplicate content by pointing search engines to a single URL for pages which could have multiple paths to the same content.

Well it turns out that the single solution is only a partial solution. According to the video below from Matt Cutts, we should still do all we can to avoid internal links with session ID's, sort order, path analysis and tracking parameters appended. Damn, can't be simple solutions that resolve it all.

It turns out that the search engines will just "prefer" your canonical tag as the single source and "favor" it as the most important ... and they "reserve the right" to do what seems most appropriate, regardless of your link element tags. Damn!

Well I guess a little help is better than none. I've recommended the tag heavily to everyone while trailing around party balloons and confetti. Now I gotta go back and say, "Well, go ahead and do what I told you, just don't expect it to completely solve your problems and - by the way - ya still gotta do the 301 redirects and consistent linking and everything we did before."

Here's Matt Cutts with the news that - not only won't this magical tag solve our problems, but we also have to be careful how we use it and make certain those tags all use absolute URL's and not relative URL's.

So really, this is just something we should adopt as a best practice for SEO and then keep fighting the good fight for 301's and consistent linking practices. Hmmm. Glad I fought for an application which does internal redirects while tracking URL's before this whole thing came up. :)

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