Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How To Use Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites To Maximize Your Marketing Efforts

How To Use Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites To Maximize Your Marketing Efforts
Social networking sites offer you a great way to get yourself known. Social networking sites allow you to create a profile and then connect with other users on the site. Most social networking sites also allow you to join group where you can meet other individuals who have the same interests as you do.

The thing, though, is that you need to watch how you use a social networking site to promote your business, since you do not want to be seen as pushy. No one likes a pushy salesperson. There's a hard sale and a soft sale. When using sites such as MySpace and Facebook, you may want to do so in a soft sale way. This means that you want them to know what you are offering without giving them a feeling like it is being shoved in their face. I will break down a few sections of the social networking site and show you how do a soft sale marketing style.

Creating Your Profile
This is your main area that you will want to do your product or service promotion. Remember that your website should have your business profile on it. With that in mind, you are going to make your profile on the social networking site a little more personal.

Take advantage of the fact that this is an informal place so you are free to design it in any way you like. Fill in areas of personal information. MySpace allows you to put information about your favorite movies, music and interests. Those areas should be filled in to give people background about you. After all, we all feel more comfortable purchasing products and services from those we know.

In a brick and mortar business, your customer comes in and you deal with them face to face. During the transaction, you and your customer talk and some personal information is shared. Take going to the furniture store as an example, you can relate to how the salesman will walk around with you, and during the process of showing you the furniture, some off-topic discussions may arise. Sharing personal information allows the salesman to create rapport with the customer, which builds a good consumer-salesman relationship.

On the internet, we do not have the chance for some face-to-face sales and relationship building that we do in the brick and mortar business. Therefore, you need to take advantage of the chance you are given to let the potential customer see you not only as a businessman, but also as someone who is just like them.

I use my profile on MySpace to promote my business. My main profile features a slide show of various pictures of my family and myself. These are just some random home shots with captions. I have some graphics on my profile that are fun and entertaining. I have even placed a radio feature on my profile that has about four songs loaded on it. This is my personal area on the internet and I use it in conjunction to promote my business. The informal layout and personal feel of my profile has driven a large amount of traffic to my website.

As you can see, you are getting interactive with those who are visiting your profile while promoting your website where your potential customers can go to. You just have to put a link that they can click to direct them to your main website. This way, you will not look like you're pushing them to take advantage of your service or product; instead you're giving them an option to visit your website for more information about your business which is your way to "soft sell".

Joining Groups
Most social networking sites have a group section where you can find groups with the same interests as you. The groups usually have the members' main profile picture and name displayed for all group members to see, as well as a forum area for all group members to discuss things relevant to the group. This is a great way to make your profile work and start sending traffic to your website.

The part that most people fail to realize when using groups to market their websites is to not spam the group forums. Many people join a group and then start putting links of their websites up in the group forum, hoping to drive more traffic to their websites. This is a bad marketing etiquette and this usually results to being banned from the group and your account with the social networking site also being shut down. This does not benefit you in any way and is the quickest way to lose credibility as a professional.

So how do you use the group to drive traffic to your website? Well, that is simple, so let me explain how it works. You have already created a nice personal profile that does point toward your website. The purpose of the group is to network with other like-minded people and in return you can count on the fact that they will check your profile out. Once they have checked your profile out, the possibility that they would check your website is high, provided that you have placed a link they can click to direct them to your main website.

Just take part in the discussions and leave the rest to your profile. You do not want to push your business too hard to the people in the group forums. Just socialize and the rest will fall into place.

Check to see if the social network site you are using has a signature area for group forum postings. You can use the signature areas to place a piece of text linked to your business there, so that all of your postings are at least advertised in an appropriate way for your business. For the text, just put your business name and then link it to your website and you are done.

Onsite Blogs
Social networking sites such as MySpace have blogs that you can add to your profile. When you create your blog entries, the first few entries' titles and a brief overview of your blog will be displayed on your profile page. This allows other users to find your blog entries easier. Depending on your business, there are several ways that you can utilize the blog that these social networking sites offer.

For example, you are offering a service for custodial parents to collect on past due child support. You can use the blog to write your own mini articles that deal with child support and the effects of estranged parents from their children's lives. This gives you the chance to offer useful and valuable information separate from your website so that your website is not overly cluttered up with tons of information. Show those in need of this service how you can help them after showing them why they need the help. Be factual and creative and always remember to direct them back to your website.

For those that have products to sell, this is also a great place to showcase some of your products. Take the time to create some catchy entries about your products. Most social networking sites do not seem to have the ability to put pictures into your blog entry, so make sure that you entice the
readers with the way you describe your product without using any pictures.

Tell the people how that product in that entry post will benefit them. If you only have one product, do not worry, you can still pull this off without sounding repetitive.

Let us look at green tea as the product you are selling. Now, you only have this one product but you are still going to utilize the blog to catch the interest of potential customers. Your first post should describe your product and indicate some of its benefits. After that, you can already post an entry containing more information about the product such as the price, sales rate and what the consumers say about the item. These would help your potential customer get well-informed about the product and would make them interested.

Remember to point back to your website so that you can close the sale. Use words such as "Click Here to Get Yours Now", "Click Here to Learn More" "Click Here to Find Out if This is Right for you" and so on and so forth. Just let them know where to click. If you are offering a service, you can post your business phone number at the bottom of each blog entry.

Do not be afraid to get creative and get their attention. My blog is bright yellow in color with purple text. I had originally started out with a simple black with white text and then I moved to white with black text. I figured it looked more professional. Well, traffic coming from the on-site blog to my website was very minimal. When I punched it up a notch and went with bright yellow and purple, my traffic from there had increased. I got their attention and they clicked my link at the bottom of each entry.

Remember to keep your blog updated to drive more readers to read your blogs and visit your site. Since most blogs have an entry date on them, even a new reader will go elsewhere if your entry dates are old. This is an important part of marketing with a blog, and if you cannot keep it fresh, then it won't work for you. Your posts should not always be lengthy; in fact, it is better if you keep them short but precise.

Before we move on to the next chapter and more information on maximizing your marketing with the Web 2.0 market, let us recap how to use social networking sites. First create a personal informal profile that shows a more personal side of you. Next, find groups that fit with your interests and join them. Do not spam, these are just ways to get yourself known without pushing your product or service. Lastly, utilize the on-site blogs to show case your products and service. Remember that social networking sites are just one form of the Web 2.0 market that you can use for marketing. There are many more Web 2.0 website types and I am going to show you throughout this eBook how to use them to your benefit.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick Look At Using Web 2.0 Sites For Marketing

Quick Look At Using Web 2.0 Sites For Marketing

Once you have your website created, you are ready to launch it onto the World Wide Web. Now, you have a great website that is just sitting there in cyberspace with no one looking at it. This is probably not the plan you had envisioned when you created your website. If you are like any other webmaster, you are going to want to see a huge amount of traffic to your website. If you have a product or service to offer, then you are going to want to see a ratio of traffic that converts to sales. This is just not going to happen until you do something to drive that traffic to your waiting website.

In the first chapter, I explained to you what the concept of Web 2.0 is. Now, I am going to discuss about site traffic and how to convert it into sales. So you are probably wondering what the correlation between the two is. One of the best ways to market your website is to utilize Web 2.0 websites.

There are various types of Web 2.0 websites on the World Wide Web. Each different type of site has its own marketing potential for your website. The following will give a brief overview of the different types of Web 2.0 sites and how you can use them for some marketing potential. We will get into a more in-depth understanding on how to use them further in this eBook, but for right now it is important to give you an outline that you can see. This way you can start to visualize a little more on what you will be doing when using Web 2.0 sites to market your very own website.

Blogs offer you a way to create teasers that make people interested in your website. Web 2.0 blogs are different from the traditional blogs. I will get into the details on that later. Right now, I want to give you an overview of what the blogs can do for you. Blogs allow you to add separate entries like an online diary for everyone to see. All you have to do is to create your entries to showcase your product or your service, and point them all back to your website. Your entries can showcase a product by talking about its features, how it is useful and why your readers would want it. If you are offering services, then talk about your service. Write about your experience in that field. Just make sure that no matter what your blog is about, you need to get their interest and you point them back to your website. Later on, I will show you how I have personally made blogs work for myself.

Social networking sites such as MySpace allow you to create a company profile or, if you are an individual, a personal profile about yourself. It is so much easier to land that sale or gain a new client for your services if people can see you more than just a company. While your website may tell about you in a business sense, social networking sites can let potential customers and clients see a personal side of you. Networking can drive traffic to your website which will result to more sales.

Social videos sites allow you to create and upload creative videos about your website or product to get more traffic to your website. These videos can be done in a variety of ways. The main point is to gain name recognition and product or service interest. With the ability for other users to leave comments, you will see how your video is being perceived by the public, which will help you in your marketing. Further on in this eBook, I will explain how to make this work for you as there are several ways that you can use social video submission sites. There are also different ways that you can create the videos.

When it comes to trying to dominate the Web 2.0 market, social bookmarking sites is my personal favorite. It requires so little marketing effort on your part and yet yield a nice return. We all want something out of a little effort, which is just human nature.

When you create an account on social bookmarking sites such Digg or StumbleUpon, you then have the freedom of bookmarking your website on their website. Once your website has been bookmarked, it is already there for everyone to see. It usually takes me about two minutes to sign in and bookmark a site on any of the social bookmarking sites. I put in very little effort, and yet the traffic I get from them has been fairly high. I will explain these as well later.

As you can see with the above outline, the purpose is that it allows other users on the website to get to know you, your product or service with teasers or a personal bio. You do not want to give it all away on one of these sites, because if you do, that they will not have any reason to visit your main website. Build up some hype and such and get them drooling so that they move from the Web 2.0 site that you are using and on to your website. Your website is going to be where you close the deal, so make sure your website is designed that way.

Understand Web 2.0

Understand Web 2.0

For many people, the term Web 2.0 is complicated. They fail to understand what this is and how it works. Many so-called experts have tried to give their long drawn out technical explanation of this type of web site. The problem, though, is that they use so much jargons and hard-to-understand technical mumbo jumbo that an average person won't be able to comprehend and he/she will probably need a Rosetta stone to decipher what these experts are saying.

One of the definitions that I came across when I first started looking into Web 2.0 was a term to characterize design patterns in which they called a constellation of a new generation of web applications. They went on to speak of infrastructures, and new and improved collaborations. The further I read on, more confused I became. The only thing that I was able to gather from the writer was "Web 2.0 was a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004". Understanding who coined the phrase was not going to help me understand how this new generation of web applications was going to benefit me.

The only way I figured I was going to learn what this was all about was to jump in headfirst and start using these sites to my advantage. With no real understanding of these sites' true purpose and function, I was leery for some time. After utilizing different variations of Web 2.0 sites, I have now figured out what this is all about, once you remove the confusing tech talk. Is it not about time for the average person to understand what this concept is? Well, hold on because I am getting ready to explain this concept to you without using hard-to-understand technical terms.

Web 2.0 websites are user-generated content sites. Visitors to the sites sign up and then start contributing their own content to the site. MySpace is a user-generated Web 2.0 social networking site. Users create their own profiles, add pictures, and upload videos and even music to the site. Social bookmarking sites such as Digg allow users to submit links to stories, videos and website that they like along with their own review of the pictures, videos and websites in general. Thus, the majority or whole content of these sites is that of contributions from users just like you.

The way this concept differs from what we know about traditional sites or Web 1.0 sites is that the traditional sites are sites that are more static. In this, the webmaster generates all the content for the site and shares this content with you. You have no say in the content that is on this site, nor do you usually have a chance to leave your own opinion of what you have seen on the site. Now some traditional sites do have areas for comments but this should not be confused with the broad user-generated content sharing of a Web 2.0 website.

Take the blog site for example; this site is a Web 2.0 blog that is comprised of thousands of users creating individual blogs on a variety of subjects. All the information you find on this site is user-contributed. The same concept applies with YouTube, which has tons of videos that you can watch. All of these videos are all user-contributed to add a lot of diverse content to the website.

Now you can see in plain English a simpler explanation of what a Web 2.0 site is. Once you take all the technical talk and industry jargon out of the equation, everything starts to make sense. User-generated content sites means marketing potential for you. One of the rewards of Web 2.0 marketing is that it is virtually free to use.

You will know how to successfully utilize these sites from this blog. After all, I have already been down that road and went through my trials and errors on what marketing with Web 2.0 sites can and cannot do for you and your business. So read on and let me take some of the guesswork out of this for you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maintain Consistency

It's best to keep elements on your site fairly consistent from page-to-page. Elements include colors, sizes, layout and placement of those elements. Your site needs to have a good flow from page to page. This means colors are primarily the same as well as fonts and layout structure. Navigation should remain in the same location of your layout throughout your website.

For layout structure, typically three page layouts exist for most websites: one for the homepage, one for content pages and one for form pages. For example, your homepage will have a different layout than a landing page for a PPC campaign, the elements in these layouts constant. This will keep your visitors from feeling lost.

More Resources

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Outsource Link Building - A Sure Shot Winner

Outsourcing the professional services has come a long way and today we see more and more business houses outsource crucial tasks in order to get the desired results. The SEO tools such as link building, optimizing websites to the popular search engines etc are the need of the hour for every internet business and this task is too risky to try internally.

Why outsource link building?

Outsourcing not only helps a company in accomplishing a particular task but also helps it in completing the job with finesse. The process of outsourcing the professional projects grew very rapidly since the evolution of internet and surely it has produced amazing results for the benefit of everyone.

A professional e-marketing link building India Company can take up this activity and provide the best results in a short period of time. These services would require greater level of skills and understanding of various search engine algorithms and therefore there are very few companies in the open market that can deliver such quality services.

Only a set of highly qualified and professional resources at these companies are able to build the links effectively in order to achieve higher rankings in the search engines for their clients. It is always safe to outsource link building projects in order to ensure that the positive results are delivered consistently. There should be no compromise as far as quality is concerned.

What difference does it make?

It is often seen that many entrepreneurs do fail in this particular step and often end up hiring a professional who is just a specialist in one or the other SEO tool and not all of them. If you hire a resource who is good in optimizing the website to the search engines and doesnt have much knowledge about article submission, link building etc then it is quite obvious there are lesser chances of your website getting popular it is always limited.

A professional company that provides internet marketing tools knows how to divert more traffic towards your website with effective and sensible linking to your business. This activity is very crucial and carried cautiously by the service provider to ensure positive results. Any lapse in this activity could prove disaster for your business.

These companies have experience in various other SEO tools such as guaranteed directory submissions which has proved to be a major traffic puller for many internet businesses. They have tie up with the popular directories around and guarantee the submissions as compared to their counterparts. You can be sure about getting loads of consistent internet traffic to your website within a short period of time with these guaranteed submissions.

By outsourcing this crucial task to a reliable company youll ensure that there are no hiccups in the revenue generation and this decision could well prove to be a sure shot winner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maintain Link Building Focus by Staying Organized

Link building is not something you should do on a whim just whenever it strikes you. You need to have a plan of execution and to set aside specific times of the week to take care of all of your link building tasks. Organization is the key to effective, and efficient, link building.

I was not always so organized, and it hampered my efforts. I used to just work on link building here there as time allowed and I kept no records of what I did. Some directory submissions here, some blog comments there. Since I no record of previous work, I was constantly attempting to get backlinks in places where I had already gotten backlinks before…which is a huge waste of time! Also, I was never really sure whether my backlinking efforts were producing anything.

Just because I submitted a directory listing or blog comment didn’t mean it would ever actually go live on the site and get indexed.

Now I keep track of everything with an Excel workbook and routinely audit my work to make sure that links I’ve submitted have been published. The spreadsheet I use is very simple and takes no time to fill out while doing backlink building. In the end, the extra few seconds of work per backlink is worth it ensure that I know exactly how my link profile is shaping up and if my work is actually working.

The workbook has these fields to track work. The fields may vary depending on type of keyword:
  • Keyword – The target keyword of the backlink. Typically this is anchor text.
  • URL of backlink – This is the URL of the site where the backlink has been place.
  • Target URL – This is the URL that the backlink points to.
  • Submitted – I put an “x” here once I have submitted the backlink.
  • Published – I put an “x” here once I’ve confirmed that a backlink is live. In many cases – like social bookmarking sites and auto-approve blog comment systems – this happens instantly, but in the case of web directories and other moderated websites, publishing can take time. Once a week I check to see which of these links have been published.
  • Direct – If the backlink points directly to the page I’m trying to rank.
  • Indirect – If the backlink points to some other website that, in turn, points to my target page.
For example, I might point some social bookmarking links at a Tumblr post which links to my target page. This builds up “link momentum” and is key in things like link wheels and such. I usually only do this with social bookmarks.
  • Notes – Any additional information.
The spreadsheet covers several different backlink types with individual spreadsheets, which can be found in the tabs along the bottom. These cover:
  • Directory Submissions
  • Article Submissions
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Blog Commenting
  • Website Outreach – This is when I’ve reached out directly to a webmaster to work some sort of custom link deal. Such a case might be a small niche or local site with a “Links” page I’d like to be added to, but does not offer a way to submit a link like a web directory would. Other cases might involve providing the webmaster with content, as with a guest blog post.

If you’d like to download a blank version of the workbook I use, you can right click and SAVE AS right here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Seo for Blogspot‏

A webmaster commonly does everything that their are able of to make their blog search engine friendly and thus have a lot more probabilities of getting higher page rank. You've to be aware that larger ranked Blogspots can drive a good quantity of traffic and get the needed back hyperlinks in your web-site.

To obtain your blogs the required visitors, you've got to complete Seo methods and one very good Search engine optimization way would be to obtain the needed hyperlinks or have your blogs seemed at. You have to observe that hyperlinks are well cherished from the search engines and getting a whole lot of those can have your blogs or web page attain the substantial rank which you intention for.

You are able to compose far more posts in your blogs and with posts which are hyperlink worthy you can have additional alternatives of acquiring more back-links. Writing blogs that provide details or opinions which are worthy and deserve conversations are those th at have these possibilities of obtaining plenty of back links.
With these posts that are credible and with authority these can make you an professional to the area that you are in and produce your image nicely around the net. Getting you acknowledged as an authority in your niche and with credibility that is topnotch, you are able to have higher prospects of acquiring these backlinks which is really a very good Search engine optimization effort for your blogs.

Enrich your blog titles with keywords because the additional which you consist of search-able keywords in your blog titles, the more are the opportunities that these will probably be observed by readers. Inclusion of key phrases inside the blog titles also tends to make your blogs far more search engine friendly and simply get noticed by search engine's spiders.

Including pictures for your blogs may also make these appealing to readers and could be a good Search engine optimization effort for your blogs. You can find strategies on tips on how to optimize images and you are able to use software program instruments to aid you on these optimization efforts.

Another good Search engine optimization device for your blog would be to submit these to weblog directories. It is possible to search the net and discover these blog directories to submit to, and once these are published you have the choices of obtaining the needed back links.

Writing the most distinctive and interesting content material for your blogs are these that may appeal to the curiosity of readers. This tends to make blogs a truly good technique to create back links which is also that which you need for the objective of significant search engine rankings.

Monday, December 5, 2011

SEO – A Link Is A Link?

A few years ago to combat blog comment spam, the search engines implemented no follow backlinks. These changes wreaked havoc for big business and small business SEO.

These no follow backlinks were suspected of having no SEO value because they don’t pass PageRank from the linking site. It now appears that although they may no pass PR, they do have value.

In the recent SEOMoz Search Engine Ranking Factors report, a correlation exists between ranking and the presence of no follow links.The ratio of no follow to do follow links appears to be a search engine ranking factor. If do follow links greatly outnumber no follow links, the site or page link profile may seem unnatural. The search engines expect that in the normal course of link getting, links from both do follow and no follow sites are normal.

If your site link profile has a very high ratio of do follow links, you may need to get more no follow links from social media sites, no follow blogs and other sources to balance your profile.

What About Authority?
It’s probably true that PR is not passed with a no follow link. That statement may not be completely true, but let’s assume it is. My question has been for some time now, even if no PageRank is passed, is a link from an authority site related to the linked-to site valuable?
Some SEO teachers and specialist have been saying for awhile to ignore no follow and just get the link. They say that in their testing it didn’t seem to matter. I’m wondering out loud, if link juice is not passed through PR, are other signals being used to determine authority and relevance.

The Search Algorithm
For a lot of reasons, search engines are designed and tweaked to provide the best result for search queries. The algorithms look at off page and on page factors. Let’s look at factors from off page. A link from a site provides a vote to the destination site. If the link is no follow, the PageRank (PR) is gone, but I’m thinking other signals in the algorithm are present that make the link from an authority site valuable.

Google says there are over 200 factors in the algorithm, others say it’s more, why wouldn’t they be including the relevance of the link in relevance factors.

Let’s look at an example. Two sites have on page content and factors that are exactly the same. There’s nothing to choose between them. Based on on page factors, it’s a dead heat. Still, one ranks higher than the other. Why?

On site factors are the same, so the ranking must be based on off site factors. Let’s say now that both of these sites have the same PR profiles. Each has 1,000 links with the same distribution of PR, the same anchor text distribution and the same distribution of no follow and do follow links.

I am submitting that where the links come from is an overlooked factor. If the first site’s links are mostly from sites related to the content, while the second site get its links from general or non-related sites, the first site will rank higher. Few would argue this point, but it appears that no follow links may be passing relevance and authority signals even if there’s no PR value.

A New Life for No Follow Links?
So, just maybe, no follow links have value after all. I don’t know how valuable these links are, but if search engines are not ignoring these links completely (there not), no follow links must be passing signals for some reason. There appears to be link profile signals. Are there one or more relevance signals for no follow links as well? While I won’t advise ignoring the follow tag, in an SEO or local SEO program it now appears that those no follow links are more valuable than we thought.

Why Canonicalization Matters From A Linking Perspective

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be like any other technical field of study. It is filled with specialized jargon that, to a newbie, can be more than intimidating. I recall that feeling was especially strong when I first encountered the term canonicalization.

It is a 14-letter, seven-syllable monster of a term. I first heard it spoken, and had to ask the person who said it to repeat it. It didn’t help. (It had been a long day!)

The truth of the matter is that canonicalization is not all that complicated to understand if the explanation is lucid. So let’s try to explain what it means, why it’s important, and what it has to do with linking.

What Is Canonicalization?
In mathematics, when the same data can be represented in multiple ways, it is best to standardize that representation by establishing the data’s canonical form, the one primary form in which it will be used. In the computer science field, the act of defining the canonical form of data is called canonicalization.

Simply put, canonicalization defines the one primary way you’ll use to write data, such as a URL string. As webmaster, you can choose which canonical form to use for a given URL on your site, but once selected, the chosen form should always be the way that URL is written.

Why Canonicalization Is Important
Fundamentally, you need to know that search engines do not index pages by their content. They index URLs. The content associated with the indexed URLs is brought in to the search engine database, but URLs are what possess ranking.

What complicates matters in search (and why canonicalization is important) is that the same content page can have multiple URLs associated with it.

I’m not talking about when Web spammers scrape your content and publish it on their own website. I’m talking about variations of URLs on your website all pointing to the same page.

For example, the following hypothetical URLs would likely all point to the same page (in this case, the home page of a site):

As you can see, a valid URL may either include or omit the subdomain prefix “www.”, a trailing slash after the top-level domain, the default webpage name for a folder, and/or one or more URL parameter suffixes (there are even more, but these are the most common). They can also be used in various combinations. The possible permutations of the above examples can quickly add up to a large number of URLs all pointing to the same content page.

And this is not only a problem for home pages. Deep link pages can have the similar problems, such as the following hypothetical examples:

When search engine crawlers encounter multiple URLs successfully pointing to the same content page, the overall potential PageRank for that content page is split among the URLs crawled. After all, even though the content is exactly the same, each crawled URL will have its own number of backlinks, so the PageRank for a given piece of content will differ among the URLs crawled.

Metaphorically speaking, imagine a full pitcher of water (the total potential page rank) and several empty cups of various sizes (your non-canonicalized URLs).

When you split up the water from the pitcher among the cups, you are technically still working with the same amount of water, but each cup only has a percentage of the total. None of the cups contains as much water as the pitcher could.

When that comes to PageRank, if your site’s pages are not canonicalized, you’re not using your full potential for page ranking. Not only are your URLs competing against those of your rivals from other websites, you are also competing against URL variations within your own website!

Wouldn’t it be better if you could consolidate your page rank in one URL as you might pour all of those cups of water back into one pitcher? That’s why we need to canonicalize our sites.

Canonicalization’s Connection To Linking
“Yeah, yeah, this is all well and good. But where’s the connection to linking,” you ask? Well, as you are a webmaster, you do have a degree of control over how at least some pages link to you.

After all, your intrasite links, not to mention your site navigation scheme links (and for that matter, the links in your XML-based Sitemap file) are all controlled by you.

This means you need to comb through your site (or your content management system, aka CMS) and see how the link to each page is referenced. You need ensure each link to a given page always uses the exact same URL form.

I personally advocate using absolute (aka full) URLs in links, if only because of the plague of content scrapers. As those people are too lazy to create their own content, they are also usually too lazy to examine and change stolen content source code.

If your content is scraped, readers of that content will be brought back to your site when they click the inline links you created (you do create inline links when relevant opportunities appear, right?).

Admittedly, there are times when your site architecture requires that you use URL parameters. In that case, you can also create rel=canonical tags in the section of your pages. The href attribute of this tag will define the canonical URL for the page, so if the URL normally requires URL parameters, the canonical URL is still defined.

Note that search engines have stated they will look at rel=canonical as a hint, not as a mandate. As such, this is not the magic canonicalization bullet for your site. You still need to be consistent with your canonical intrasite linking.

Also, for URL parameter users, be sure to check out both the Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both have added options enabling webmasters to define specific URL parameters to be ignored during crawls.

Google also allows you to select whether or not you want to use the subdomain prefix “www.” in your preferred URL. I’d guess that option will eventually come to Bing as well.

Lastly, for links you don’t control, such as inbound links from other sites, you can set up 301 permanent redirects for all non-canonical URL forms to the canonical URL for each page.

Just be sure you use a 301 permanent redirect. As the 301 is a permanent redirect, search engines interpret this to mean they can safely transfer all of the page rank value from the original (non-canonical) URL to the new (canonical) one.

Note that while 302 temporary redirects will redirect users to a canonical URL, search engines will not transfer any acquired page rank! (I have written in more detail about using 301 redirects here.)

If you’re really detail-oriented, you could even look at backlink tools, such as the aforementioned search engines’ webmaster tools or a third-party tool such as Open Site Explorer, to see who is linking to you and work with the errant webmasters who are not using your canonical URL in their outbound links.

After all, as good as a 301 redirect is for canonicalization, a redirect also introduces a potential page load speed delay, although that’s not likely as detrimental to your page rank as non-canonicalized URLs)

The bottom line is this: you have the ability to consolidate the PageRank for your content pages into canonical URLs.

Depending upon how badly your multiple URLs are dividing up your PageRank today, given how competitive (not to mention how valuable) top ranking can be for a given query, why wouldn’t you take the steps needed to consolidate the page rank of your content pages into one canonical URL?

Canonicalization may be a seven-syllable monster, but it’s not that complicated, and doing something about it could improve your position in the SERPs.