New Duplicate Web Pages Fix


Google, Yahoo and MSN yesterday unveiled a new way for website’s to specify which pages are your “main” or “original” ones.  This goes a long way towards helping prevent the dilution of backlinks to a website.

For example, if you work for the Tourism Board of Mars and have the following page on your website, listing Martian hotels:

… and users were allowed to sort the list of hotels by different criteria (price, rating, proximity etc…), doing so creates a new version of the page.  It’s still the same content, just re-ordered.  Using the above example, when a user sorts the list of hotels by price, the URL might look like this:

The search engines identify this as a separate page, and other websites can link to either of the two URLs.  If that happens, say 10 websites link to the first URL and 1,000 link to the second, each version of the same page can be assigned a separate PageRank by Google as a result.

To avoid this, and maximize the value of other websites linking to yours, Google, Yahoo and MSN have introduced a new way to tell them which is the main page.  To do so, you simply insert a single line of code into the source code of all the “extra” or “duplicate” pages.

Following our example from before, we would add the following into the page at

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

That’s it.  this tells the search engines that is the main page for the other pages with the same content.  And Google will give the full PageRank value to that page, instead of diluting it across each separate version.

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