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Google Addresses Duplicate Content

Posted by Miva Merchant to Design & Development on February 17th, 2009

Countless hours have been spent by developers, consultants, webmasters and many others trying to figure out how to make sure search engines (Google) only see one copy of your website. If you are not quite sure what dictates duplicate content then you may want to review a previous post by Google on duplicate content.

Google really picked up the slack and now supports a way for you to tell them the preferred URL. Every site owner should be excited about this because you no longer have to worry about a product being in multiple categories or affiliate links negatively impacting your SEO efforts.

I am not going to get too deep into the inevitable Q&A or debates about using the canonical URL attribute on a page but instead focus on how to implement in an existing Miva Merchant store.

First off, the most common instances of two URLs for the same page in Miva Merchant is the storefront page. The second most common is likely the addition of a Session ID appended to the URL.

Normally a 301 redirect in the .htaccess file is utilized to eliminate multiple URLs for the same page such as:

  • www.example.com
  • www.example.com/mm5/merchant.mvc
  • example.com
  • example.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?

Without the redirect all of the above URLs are considered different pages by the search engines. Another example is when a Session ID is appended resulting in a URL similar to:

http://www.example.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=49d8db48b1283df25e43e99201ba974b

The Session ID issue cannot be addressed with a 301 redirect though. Both scenarios can now be covered by adding one line to the header of your storefront. Here are the steps:

         
  1. Login to your Miva Merchant Admin
  2.      
  3. Click on Pages
  4.      
  5. Search for SFNT
  6.      
  7. Click on edit next to SFNT
  8.      
  9. Click on Header & Footer
  10.      
  11. Past the code below in the Header text box:
    <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/" /> 
         
  12.      
  13. Click Update

You just need to replace http://www.example.com with your actual domain name. You can also use this on product and category pages although you would put the canonical code in the header section of each product or category.

You can read all the details directly from Google which includes a Q&A section.

You can get more insight into this development at the Miva Merchant Conference this month during the SEO classes that will be offered. Would you like to see a section in the META tag settings to set the preferred URL? If so let us know by leaving a comment below. What else would you like to see added?

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