4 June 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

When should you use 301 redirects on your website? When is the rel=canonical attribute the better solution? This week's article helps you to find the right solution for your situation.

In the news: Sitelinks do get some additional clicks, Google helps webmasters with structured data, an authorship logo in Google's results is not bad for the click-through-rate, Yandex gets more personal, and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. 301 redirects and the rel=canonical attribute

When should you use 301 redirects on your website? When is the rel=canonical attribute the better solution? This week's article helps you to find the right solution for your situation.

Google redirect

What is a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect is a server-side redirect that shows search engines that your page has moved to a new URL. 301 redirects pass nearly all of the link power of the old URL to the new URL. In general, 301 redirects are the best way to direct Google and other search engines to the correct page.

When should you use 301 redirects?

301 redirects are the best solution if you're moving your website to a new domain or if you're changing the URL structure of your web pages. Search engines and users won't see the old URLs of your website then.

You should also use 301 redirects to make sure that search engines index only the www. (or the non-www.) version of your website. For example, this link goes to SEOprofiler.com without the www. The server automatically changes it to www.SEOprofiler.com to make sure that search engines index only one variation of the page.

What is the rel=canonical attribute?

The rel='canonical' attribute is an HTML element that enables webmasters to prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the "canonical", or "preferred", version of a web page.

For example, the same web page could be available in a web version and a print version. By using the rel='canonical' attribute in the print version, you show search engines that the web version is the version that should be found in the search results.

A link tag with the rel=canonical attribute looks like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.seoprofiler.com/" />

The tag must be inserted in the head section of a web page.

When should you use the rel=canonical attribute?

The canonical attribute is useful if your website creates dynamic URLs with every visit. For example, your URLs might contain tracking variables or visitor information:

www.example.com/page.htm?visitor=12345&ad=big&print=yes

The canonical attribute shows search engines that the pages with the different variables are the same and that they shouldn't count as duplicate content.

The canonical tag is only a suggestion. Google sees rel=canonical as a hint, but not as an absolute directive like a 301 redirect. Use the website audit tool in SEOprofiler to find out if there are any 301 or canonical issues with your website.

The audit tool checks the pages of your website and it shows all errors that can cause problems with search engines.

Free trial Test full version for $1


Create a free trial account now or test the full version for only $1.

2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Case study: do people actually click Sitelinks?

"Do Sitelinks work and how well? Do people actually click on my Sitelinks or does the presence of Sitelinks improve click-through rate by giving me more ad real estate? [...]

Conclusion: While specific Sitelinks are not clicked on anywhere near as much as headlines, they do provide additional CTR and conversions."


GoogleGoogle: getting started with structured data
"We’re happy to announce a new tool: the Structured Data Markup Helper.

You start by submitting a web page (URL or HTML source) and using your mouse to 'tag' the key properties of the relevant data type. When you’re done, the Structured Data Markup Helper generates sample HTML code with microdata markup included. This code can be downloaded and used as a guide as you implement structured data on your website."


Yandex search results get more personal

"We have added to our search algorithm a search history of a few seconds – searches within the current search session. We can now deliver results and search suggestions based on the ‘full picture’ of the user’s search behaviour."



WikipediaWikimedia launches ‘Nearby’ to surface Wikipedia articles based on location

"We’d like to be able to show users a map of articles needing images near their location, so that they can easily take and upload photos of subjects around them missing an illustration."

How Google Authorship decreased our traffic by 90%

"Almost every single SEO-blog on this planet has written a post about why 'Google Authorship' is so great and why you should 'claim' it right now. [...]

[Since Google shows my face next to the search results] our positions haven't changed but the number of clicks is down by 50%-90%. [...] If there's no paid ads there - people will think your site is the paid AD. If there are paid ads, but you're the #1 result - people will still think you're a paid ad."

Editor's note: It turns out that the traffic drop was not caused by the author image. The website was hit by Google's Penguin update.


Search engine newslets

  • Text Link Ads was the latest link network that was penalized by Google.
  • Search engine DuckDuckGo: HTTPS on by default.
  • Google expands Google Business Photos in Europe and Asia.
  • Google loses key Maps engineering director Raj Shah to Microsoft’s online services division.
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3. Recommended resources

How to get an in-depth review of your website

Doing a regular audit of your web pages is important if you want to make sure that search engines can index all of your pages. The more pages your website has, the more likely it is that there are many errors that have to be corrected.

The website audit tool in SEOprofiler automatically checks your web pages once per week. Then you get a report that shows all the issues that should be corrected. By correcting these issues, you make sure that search engines can index all of your pages correctly. Here’s a screenshot of the overview page:

seoprofiler

You can get the website audit tool and all other tools in SEOprofiler for our special offer price:

Free trial Test full version for $1


Create a free trial account now or test the full version for only $1.

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4. Previous articles
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