Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

Neither, every user on Web is as smart as web itself nor, every website owner is technically adept as they should be. The pretty cool example would be 301 Redirection and Canonical page issues that these website owners are facing but are not aware of always.

The mistakes could be from both ends

  1. Common users with limited knowledge in browsing behavior
  2. Website owner’s who are not told about such typical issues

Let us discuss them here:

Canonical 301

Mistake No: 1

Let us take an example with my site http://www.websigmas.com :

While typing down my website name in the address bar people try as many ways as follows:

  1. www.websigmas.com
  2. websigmas.com
  3. www.websigmas.com/
  4. websigmas.com/
  5. www.websigmas.com/index.html
  6. websigmas.com/index.html
  7. www.websigmas.com/Home.aspx
  8. websigmas.com/Home.aspx

Well, common users are not aware of all such URL etiquettes. They just know by typing anything among those mentioned they can reach to my site. But, it is not that simple or similar as they think and type across. Each URL is technically different but they indicate same content only.

Solution:

You as a site owner have to ensure that people typing down any URL format safely reach to your landing page. The technique to fix such issues is called “ 301 Redirection”. Here webmasters and developers can redirect all erroneous URLs to the correct page.

Later on we will discuss about the 301 Redirection Process.

Mistake No: 2

Many of commercial websites displaying products have similar pages. In one page the product assortment could by color and design range. In another page, same products are listed by price and ratings. The content is same for both the page unless some changes in image color or so.

This is a duplicate content issue which you may not have thought about. Search engines can’t treat both pages separately. To them, it is an error in content distribution. For e-commerce sites this could be a huge problem.

Such duplicate pages are called canonical pages and the issues are Canonical Issues.

If you have pages showing listings of almost similar products, Google may index only one version for the search results and reject others.

It means some of pages with identical content may not be indexed and appear on search results. This is a big blow to Search Engine Marketing success. Google algorithm select the page that best answers user’s query.

Solution:

So you have to prioritize any one page in search results. You can specify a canonical page to search engines by adding canonical “link element” with rel=”canonical” attribute to the head section of non-canonical version of the pages. Thus you can identify the sets of identical content and tell Google about the page you want to prioritize.

Later on we will discuss more about how to do it and all. Keep following….