Next up is Brent Payne of the Chicago Tribune. Brent trains hundreds of journalists each year to make sure they understand how to write with search engines in mind.
Search Engine Ranking Factors, breaks down to :
On page/offpage/linktext/URL = main categories for ranking
So Brent reminds us there is no penalty, only a filter. Your first *penalty* is not appearing on the first page of Google!
– Use GG W/M Tools – has parameter handling option in Webmaster Tools now.
Brent says the Tribune has a tool to do 301s/canonicals automatically. They have 50 different domains with 50 different goals so sometimes there will be duplicate content. That can cause issues for Google and so instead of 1 article being filtered, ALL articles are filtered out. To fix that, canonical tags should’ve been used.
Remember, says Brent, the pages need to be very similar for canonicals.
Sub Domains / Sub Directories
Via Matt Cutt’s blog, Google says not a huge difference, except if targeting different countries – then use sub-domains (Brent showed example question I asked in the comments!)
Subdomains on Separate IP Blocks
Brent asked Google whether separate IP blocks make a difference to ranking. Response was “LOL Brent, that’s a new level of obsessing”. Brent found that quite interesting.