Cross Domain redirect using rel=canonical

  • Posted by prasad
  • On March 16, 2010
  • SEO,

Many times site owners have different domains and they tend to have the same site content across all these domains. Prima facie it makes sense for those who are not aware of the duplicate content issues as Search engines see it.  As the life of the web site progresses the owner craves to have a good ranking on search engines and that is when he/she gets introduced to the SEO and SEO Service providers. All those jargons of 301 redirect (and many more) start bothering you.
One of the easiest way to have a server side redirect but  it is not necessary that all the hosting providers / web servers provide facility to migrate to a new domain creating server-side redirects.  Google has recently announced support for the use of cross-domain rel=”canonical” link element. This helps to point to the valid URL without losing the link juice.
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So, what are the steps to take care of the duplicate content?
First step is to choose the preferred domain. If you don’t choose the preferred domain then search engines will take one version more authentic than the other. And it may not be good for you. The site owner will have good understanding of his intended visitors and thus it always makes sense to choose the domain yourself. There will be many external links that may e pointing to the duplicate domains and thus getting the benefit divided. You certainly would like that to happen.
Second step is to reduce the in-site duplication. Simple way to do this is to take a unique text snippet from a page and to search for it, limiting the results to pages from your own website by using a site:query in Google. Multiple results for the same content show duplication you can investigate.
Third Step is to enable 301 redirects. These redirects signals to the serch engine that the pages have moved permenentely to the preferred domain / page. This is generally the best method since it gives a very clear message that the page / domain has moved. One should remember that  in order for search engine crawlers to discover these redirects, none of the URLs in the redirect chain can be disallowed via a robots.txt file.
There are situations where 301 redirects are not possible. Webmasters can use the rel=”canonical” link element across domains to specify the exact URL of whichever domain is preferred for indexing. As per Google the rel=”canonical” link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive
It is always advisable to use good SEO Company with right SEO Packages from well established players like Broadplace Advertising. The SEO team at Broadpalce is well equipped to help the customer migrate to preferred domains with as less damage on SEO ranking as possible.
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