Friday, 8 August 2014

IP Canonicalization and Sitelink Demotion

IP Canonicalization

This week I've been doing quite a bit of SEO. This is not something I'm familiar with so it's been a good week for learning a couple of tricks beyond keywords and meta descriptions. The first trick I learnt was IP Canonicalization.
 The idea of IP canonicalization is to redirect any pages that could be labeled as duplicate content to there original URL. This makes sure that the IP address does not get indexed by Google. The solution to this problem is a 301 redirect, this is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. The main benefit of a 301 redirect as apposed to other methods is that there are no search engine penalties. 
The best way to set up a 301 redirect is to edit the .htaccess file found in your root directory. The code you need to insert is below:
RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^xxx\.xxx\.xxx\.xxx [nc,or] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [nc] 
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
You just need to change the XXX's with your servers IP address and the example domain for your own. This is the simplest and most effective solution of IP Canonicalization. As an extra precaution you could edit your robots.txt file on your server to stop Google from indexing certain parts of your site.
The best way to check if you have applied this properly is to go to SEO site checkup and enter your web address. It is important to note that if you are on a shared server you may need to speaking to your hosting provider to activate IP Canonicalization.

Sitelink Demotion

Another trick i discovered this week is sitelink demotions. What's that you say!? basically it is a set of links which appear below a particular page  when it is shown in search results. The image below give a better idea of what I'm talking about:
Google Sitelink Demotion Picture
1)The main search result
2)Sitelinks
Google's algorithms determine sitelinks by analysing a site's link structure to determine of there are other links that can be provide in the search results that could save the users time. Google doesn't always get this right though and this can lead to incorrect or no links being displayed with the search results.
When this happens you can use the sitelinks section on Google Webmasters. Once you navigate to this section within your site area you will see the following form:
Google Sitelinks Demotion Search Result
The highlighted text field is not the sitelink URL that you wish to demote. It is for the page that the sitelinks will show up for. It's the URL that's displayed at the top of the search listing. If you want your home page to have sitelinks then you leave this field blank and put the sitelink URL in the field below.
You can demote up to 100 sitelinks per site and Google does state that it can take some time to make the changes to sitelinks and they are effective for 90 days from your most recent visit to the Sitelinks page in Webmaster Tools.