Q & A: Duplicate content with dynamic sites.

QuestionDear Kalena…

I’m working on a CFM database driven site and Google thinks we have hundreds of duplicate title tags and descriptions because pages on the site can be accessed using the normal page # and/or the page # plus navigation query strings.

Example: (these 3 urls all go to the same page and Google is logging them as 3 different pages in my Google Webmaster View)

1) body.cfm?id=19‎

2) body.cfm?id=19&oTopID=19‎‎

3) body.cfm?id=19&oTopId=62‎‎

To avoid a duplicate content penalty I cleaned up my sitemap.xml to only include the page # with no query strings. (Example = body.cfm?id=19‎) In my robots.txt file I’ve also added the disallow code to block any file with ‘TopId’ in the url. I’m hoping this will help…have you experienced this type of problem before?

Thanks! Mitch

Dear Mitch,

Your question was the source of some debate over here, so thanks for bringing it up! There is a question as to whether Google will actually index pages with session ID’s, and the general thinking is no, so you may be in the clear.

You seem to be handling the problem of duplicate content with database driven sites well, however. It’s best to pick one of the URL’s to include in your site map. You can also be sure NOT to link to any of these pages with duplicate content, from within your site. If you do need to link to these pages, be sure to use “no follow” tags on your link.

Best of luck, Nick Loeser


Google is Indexing Flash. Who Knew?

Big news: I just found out that Google has integrated better indexing of Adobe Flash files into their latest bots.

The indexing of Flash files has been something that designers have been begging Google to improve for many years so this is the equivalent of the graphical web designer’s wet dream.

Google can now index any kind of textual content embedded in Flash files. They can also discover URLs. From the official Google blog post:

“In addition to finding and indexing the textual content in Flash files, we’re also discovering URLs that appear in Flash files, and feeding them into our crawling pipeline—just like we do with URLs that appear in non-Flash webpages. For example, if your Flash application contains links to pages inside your website, Google may now be better able to discover and crawl more of your website.”

The new technology was made possible in part due to Adobe’s Searchable SWF library:

“We’ve developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way that a person would, by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on. Our algorithm remembers all of the text that it encounters along the way, and that content is then available to be indexed. We can’t tell you all of the proprietary details, but we can tell you that the algorithm’s effectiveness was improved by utilizing Adobe’s new Searchable SWF library.”

As a SEO who repeatedly bashes heads with web designers who worship at the Almighty Altar of Bells and Whistles, this is great news. Maybe now I can co-design web sites that both look good AND get indexed without finding myself at the bottom of the design team’s Christmas card list.

Thanks to the delightful Karon Thackston for the heads up.

Search Industry Job of the Week: Junior SEO/SEM Manager

Job Title: Junior Search Engine Optimization Manager
Job Reference #: Unknown
Position Type: full time
Name of employer: Richardo.ch
Location: Grafenauweg, Postfach, Switzerland
Date Posted: 19 August 2008
Position description: 

Richardo.ch are looking for a dynamic and proactive professional as Junior Search Engine Optimization Manager (SEO).

Your tasks:

  • Management, facilitation and optimization of search engine advertising campaigns
  • Analysis of traffic data using web analytic tools to monitor campaign ROI
  • Optimization of websites to increase organic search result traffic
  • Support of our sales promotion activities and assistance in the definition of the category structure
  • Analysis and optimization of the results of our newsletters
  • Implementation of a customer revaluation programme

Your profile:

  • Commercial or technical education; continued education in marketing
  • Experience in managing and developing SEO/SEM programs; knowledge in Google Analytics is an advantage
  • Experience with keyword research, keyword density analysis and keyword reporting
  • Strong vocabulary knowledge and writing skills (grammar and spelling) with industry specific keywords
  • Ability and willingness to build strong relationships with key business partners
  • Native German language skills are essential; strong English and French skills are also required

The successful candidate will be a self-motivated and detail oriented team player willing to drive projects forward in order to meet objectives and tight deadlines. They offer an outstanding opportunity in a high-performance and target-driven environment for someone with a keen enthusiasm and a demonstrable understanding of the Web Industry and its technologies.

If you recognize yourself in this profile and seek for a new challenge, please send your application. They look forward to hearing from you!

ricardo.ch AG
Human Resources
Grafenauweg 12
Postfach 4636
6304 Zug

E-Mail: jobs[at]ricardo.ch
Internet: jobs.ricardo.ch

Salary range: Unknown
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: [contents.ricardo.ch]
Contact: Send resumes to jobs[at]ricardo.ch

For more search industry job vacancies visit Search Engine College Jobs Board.

Q and A: How do I report a competitor’s spamming to Google?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have just started up an SEO company in Bangkok called Search Sense Thailand and have my first real break. Yesterday I got a new job to work on a real estate agent’s website, with a brief to get them onto the first page of Google for Bangkok Property.

But there’s one site, position #2, that has duplicated six websites, all linking to one another and using keyword spam on all their domain names. And I cannot compete with it! Why does Google weigh the domain name so heavily? Why does it allow duplicate content, from the same owner to dominate their search? This is just plain wrong. I would like some help on this, please. How can I get Google to take any notice?


Dear Pun,

Out of curiosity I checked Google and did a search for “Bangkok Property” and did not notice the issue you are stating above. This is not surprising, as Google often shows different results for different users.

However, to answer your question. If you would like to report spammy activity to Google you can use the link below. If I were you I would concentrate on all of the good whitehat tactics that you no-doubt employee, and try to beat him that way. By collecting good quality, relevant links, and filling the site with useful relevant content you can eventually beat him.


Best of luck, Nick Loeser

Please Welcome Guest Bloggers Nick, Andy and Jacqueline

You might remember last week we announced that Ask Kalena was searching for some Guest Bloggers? Well we’ve had an incredible reaction and have already found 3 talented writers to join our team.

Please join me in welcoming:

Congrats guys, looking forward to reading your posts!