What the H!@# is a Canonical Tag? First off, it is pronounced [kuh-non-i-kuhl] tag and it helps eliminate duplicate content on your site in the eyes of search engines. It is easy to implement, accepted by all the major search engines and can help your site in the rankings.
In its simplest form, a canonical tag tells the search engines which page to display in place of similar pages (like a 301 redirect), but without actually redirecting the user to the new page. When there are multiple versions of the same page/URL (example.com, www.example.com, www.example.com/) they are all considered the same in the eyes of the engines, which means the engines don’t know which URL to display in their indexes. This in turn can affect your pages’ search engine rankings and traffic to your site (something no one wants).
It hasn’t even been a month since I started interning here at EIM, yet I feel like I’ve already learned so much. Prior to arriving at EIM, most of my experience with digital media involved managing social media accounts for various local events and businesses and maintaining my own personal blog. As a recent college graduate who studied media and communications for four years, I felt very much aware of the power of social media and how sites like Twitter and Facebook have been reshaping our lives and the way we do business.
But while social media channels can certainly play a great role in things like brand management and customer engagement, it is really just a piece of the marketing puzzle. It’s not enough to just make a Facebook and Twitter page for your business and wait for fans and followers to roll in. It is very important to make sure your social media efforts line up with your overall marketing strategy. It’s also useful to find ways to integrate your social media pages into other channels such as your website, newsletters, mobile apps, print ads, and even TV commercials (see: American Express)
The web marketing team here at EIM often gets asked casual questions about search engine optimization, be it at the office or even out at a social event. A client might ask about the newest tactic they happened to read about or how social media impacts organic search results. A family member might ask for an explanation of what exactly SEO means (this is a very common one). And we still get people wondering if you can pay for the top spot in the organic results of Google (you can’t).
With all these questions and varying levels of understanding, and with the almost daily changes in the search and social marketing industry, I thought it would be good to take a look at some basics in SEO philosophy.
In March, Google released their brand new +1 button to their search results. This button is Google’s response to the Facebook “like”, and allows users to publicly +1 search results and ads on the Google network. This button can help you find quality web pages, based off of what people in your Google community are “+1ing “
Take a peek at this quick video provided by Google to learn a little more about the +1 button.
Originally, the +1 button was released to be displayed only on the search engines, but due to multiple requests Google has released a version of the button that can be placed and displayed on individual web pages. This allows webmasters to add the +1 button all pages across their site, and gives the consumer the opportunity to +1 said page if the find the information useful.
Social media is a huge part of marketing these days, and a great way to reach out and captivate your audience. When utilizing these channels there are some important steps you should take to make sure you cover all the bases when continuing to develop your brand on these networks.
So you have an active Facebook page… check. You’re active on Twitter… check. But what about Youtube? Do you have a channel set up? Youtube channels are a necessity these days, and there is much more that you can do to your channel than just uploading videos. Just check out the new promotion Dreamworks is running for the new Kung Fu Panda 2 movie coming out. And MAKE SURE you click for epicness at the end of the first video..
StumbleUpon is a recommendation engine that allows you to view web pages, photos, and videos all over the web based on your tagged interests. You can seamlessly “stumble” from page to page, liking and disliking each page you view on the way. StumbleUpon then begins to learn what you like and provides you with related information based your like/dislike behavior. They also offer a very targeted CRM paid advertising option where they discretely insert your web page into users “stumbles” (about $.05 per visit/ $50 CRM).
Check out this quick video to learn more:
What are the benefits?
StumbleUpon is a great way to generate additional traffic to your website, and every time you submit a page to the site you have a change to hit a potential social media home run—it seldom happens, but when it does you have the potential to get hundred of thousands, or even millions of visitors to your site.
Being that I am the last person at envisionit media that would do a search for recipes, I still found this latest improvement Google has made to enrich the online search experience pretty significant. You know, for those that love to cook (not me), but more importantly for those that feature recipes on their website and want to increase their online exposure for them.
So what is Google Recipe Viewer? Well, in the past, you could do a search for “chicken recipes” in the search bar, and hope that recipes appear in the results. Now, you can filter your results on the left hand side of the results page to search by ingredients, cooking time, even calorie count!
So things over at Google are getting a little scary, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although it is still technically in testing phase, Google is allowing users to block domains/hosts from appearing in your personal Google search results. They are also allowing users to report bad links and content farm websites through a new Google Chrome extension. The idea behind the extension, called Personal Blocklist is that users can block websites they don’t want to see in their results and Google can then determine bad websites and content farms by looking at the patterns of websites people most often block.
This is the first time that Google has given a searcher the ability to have an impact on search results and the search engine as a whole. Because of this new extension, users can effectively have an impact on page rank since “the extension will also transmit to Google the URL of the web page on which the blocked or unblocked search results are displayed.”
So, you’ve been told 2011 is all about local. As well as mobile. And social. And video. And reviews. And probably a number of other important elements of the online world. So what the heck do you focus on? Well…when it comes to getting your site found on search engines: all of them.
But! Fear not. Don’t freak out. This doesn’t require elaborate marketing campaigns combining all of these mediums. (In fact, avoid that.) And you don’t need to have the next “Old Spice Guy” idea for social media to have an impact. This just means getting your presence into a healthy mix of all of these mediums, which really comes down to providing great service and engaging with your customers. In other words, do good business. And use these online elements in a natural way.
Here’s an example of how you might integrate them into your everyday business process:
In honor of end-of-year reflection and round-ups, I wanted to use my last blog post of 2010 to pay homage to the classic Top 10 List. From popular radio to Cosmopolitan to Letterman to your best friend’s blog, Top 10 Lists have always been able to captivate the curiosities of many an audience. They can be fun or insightful, they make us laugh, they make us think…and sometimes they might even rile us up. Put that sucker on your website and BAM: you’ve got a simple little viral SEO tool.