[wp-hackers] Canonical integration into core

Chris Jean gaarai at gaarai.com
Tue Feb 17 16:50:23 GMT 2009

I understand where you are coming from Nathan, but I think that this 
canonical tag is a different sort of beast and shouldn't be treated as 
an SEO fad.

People spammed their duplicate content all over a site to try to improve 
their keyword rankings. Search engines protected their search results by 
lowering value of duplicate content. Today's dynamic URL structures 
present a problem of providing what is technically the same exact 
content by different names, not to try to improve rankings but to offer 
other benefits such as tracking or to be easily read. This resulted in 
sites getting hit with the duplicate content penalty. In order to 
correct this for legitimate content producers that aren't trying to game 
the system, the search engine devs have said, "here is a way that you 
good guys can stop being penalized".

So, this is different than keywords, descriptions, title, etc in that 
this field doesn't try to enhance your keyword ranking and can't be used 
to game the system. Rather, it's just a safety measure to ensure that 
your site isn't inadvertently punished due to search engines' actions to 
stem the tide of spam content.

It's true that the redirects that WordPress uses take care of most of 
this issue, but there are many areas that have already been covered that 
aren't adequately protected. I'd rather have the WP devs spend their 
time finding and addressing every possible avenue where duplicate 
content could be shown than rely on every individual theme developer to 
do that independently.

To me, the only reason to not have something in core and on by default 
is if there is a rational reason to not want it. Since this is 1) not an 
SEO enhancement to artificially improve ranking, 2) is blessed by the 
big players, and 3) doesn't do anything to affect valid markup, I can 
see no reason why anyone would not want this on their WordPress site.

Adding a template tag is great and all, but I'd rather theme developers 
focus on creating great looking themes with advanced features rather 
than reading the latest buzz about meta tag standards and practices.

Chris Jean

Nathan Rice wrote:
> Joost,
> This is one of my main concerns with it being "on by default".  I cringe
> when I think about utter saturation of a new "SEO technique".  It makes the
> technique useless. Think meta keywords, description, and keyword stuffing in
> <title>.
> FWIW, the nofollow was to fight spam, primarily, was it not?
> But generally, I agree with Cutts ... it should be a core option.  But make
> it a friggin' template tag.
> Just say NO to saturation! ;-)
> My Website
> http://www.nathanrice.net/
> My Twitter
> http://twitter.com/nathanrice
> On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 11:12 AM, Joost de Valk <joost at yoast.com> wrote:
>> Sound bite from Matt Cutts, in reply to me telling him about this
>> discussion:
>> "that's great! Canonical tags should be added to WP core cautiously and
>> with thoughtful deliberation, but I support it."
>> Best,
>> Joost
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