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October 18, 2010

SEO Hot Tub – September 2010

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After a busy August, it seemed as though September would be a quiet month for SEO news. There weren’t any major releases this month (like Google Instant or Google allowing brand stacking), but our analysts have been able to find some interesting updates to share with you all from the month of September.

Unifying content under multilingual templates

Earlier this month, Google introduced two new SEO specific attributes for managing websites with multilingual pages. Multilingual sites can cause webmasters and SEOs grief by creating highly similar pages that Google deems to be duplicates, or directs visitors from search engines to the wrong language page. To address this, Google has created the rel=”alternate” and hreflang=”…” attributes.

On a page, the attributes will look something like this:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang="a-different-language" href="http://url-of-the-different-language-page" />

These attributes will help webmasters consolidate their cross language pages and ensure Google knows the preferred language.

Getting pagination indexed and ranking

We are always looking to improve our techniques for getting all paginated pages indexed, and making sure the first paginated page is the ranking page. At Webmasterworld.com user tedster posted his ideas for best results when splitting up long pages.

He outlined them as follows:

  • Ensure page 1 has unique title and meta description.
  • The subsequent pages should use <H1>, not <H2>.
  • Add “pre-head” to the article title. Ensure this pre-head doesn’t use a heading tag but CSS.
  • Add the page number to subsequent page titles.
  • Ensure every page links to every other page in article with the number.
  • Add centred link w/ next page title at bottom.
  • Add the page title attributes to page numbers.
  • Make it clear which page is active, don’t link to the active page with the number.
  • Ensure the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link attributes are included in the <head> section.

Finding Places on the Web: Rich Snippets for Local Search

To improve accurate real world connections, on the 22nd of September Google announced that with Rich Snippets, business websites could reference their place and location. This will make it easier for Google to know where businesses are located and place the website in the relevant local business search results.

In the past, Google relied on business websites to display the name of their business and its location in the html. This method is simple for a user to see the information, but a computer will find it difficult to distinguish what ‘is’ the location and what ‘is’ the name. Google has always had to make the assumption themselves in this case, but with this update, you can assign a piece of text to the business name and another to the business address, making the information more clear and definitive.

Microsoft Launches A New Loyalty Program: Bing Rewards

And to wrap things up, Microsoft has announced the release of Bing Rewards. Bing Rewards is a loyalty program (much like credit card or airline reward programs) where users are given credits that can be redeemed for products, gift cards or charitable donations.

To be eligible for awards, you’ll need to be on a Windows machine, use Internet Explorer, have a Windows Live ID and install the Bing Bar – hmmm, I’m one out of four there, so maybe it’s not for me.

But if you routinely use Bing, you can gain points by simply searching, setting your browser search defaults to Bing, or trying out new Bing features. By getting a credit each day, you’ll qualify for a Scrabble Board Game in a little over a year!

That’s it for this SEO hot tub, if you have any questions, comments or information about the topics raised, we’d love to hear them.

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