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Google Oct. 2005 Jagger Update Continues Into November & Hating The Term Canonical

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So I go away for vacation for two weeks, and discussion of Google's October 2005 "Jagger" update is STILL going on when I get back. Nice (or maybe not) to know nothing changes. Here's a fast rundown on things, including a look at canonical issues, what the heck that means and why after a decade of existence, maybe it would be nice if search engines gave us a better way to indicate the domains we own and which to use when listing our pages. Seems like that would help solve canonical/domain name problems.

  • Google: Phone Numbers in Results and Better Precision over at Threadwatch looks at how results for things like [boeing 727] and [nokia 3650] seems cleaner. It also looks at Google showing phone number results for some queries. That's not new, but the links to maps next to listings does seem a recent change.
     
  • Reciprocal Linking After Jagger? from Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable wraps-up some discussion in our own SEW Forums thread, Reciprocal Linking ? Dead or Alive?, pondering whether reciprocal linking is being hit hard in the latest update.
     
  • Jagger or Jäger? Google?s Update Unraveled at Search Engine Lowdown has Jenny Halasz taking a swing at what seems to be some of the most widely discussed changes (hidden text, paid/reciprocal linking, too much internal link optimization) but also how few of her clients are seeing changes. FYI, at our SEW Forums Live event two weeks ago, which was heavily attended by in house SEOs, the Jagger update was of relatively little concern to the audience. In other words, the update may have hit affiliates and others who are light on content harder than some others.
     
  • Why I Try to Spend Less Time Analyzing Algorithm Updates from Todd over at Stuntdubl has sage advice I've heard other vets say before. Don't try to analyze too hard now. Wait for the dust to settle.
     
  • Jagger Update at Google from Barry at SE Roundtable has him doing the hard work of slogging though the Update Jagger - Part 2 thread over at Webmaster World, which he's found to be the best forum discussion overall about various changes. He summarize two key things that seem to be involved, duplicate content issues and reciprocal linking. Then, as with virtually any other major update you care to discuss, he covers how people are also reporting exact opposite findings of each other.
     
  • Jagger 2 Update Info from Google's Matt Cutts has a rundown on changes that people should be seeing when searching Google now, along with lots and lots of comments.
     
  • Jagger3 update is the latest weather report from Matt Cutts, saying that more changes and fixes are on the way, including correcting canonical problems.

    Canonical? Canonical! Oh, how I hate that term. First, I can never say it properly (I'm always saying caniconical!). Second, no one knows what it means, as you can see in comments below Matt's blog posts.

    Here's a definition from Answers.com:

The actual name of a resource. For example, a canonical name of a server is its true name rather than an alias.

To put that more in SEO terms, it means knowing which domain name a search engine should use for your site. Search Engine Watch, for example, can be found at:

searchenginewatch.com
www.searchenginewatch.com
sewatch.com

Those are just some of our domains. Usually, Google gets it right and lists our pages using our preferred domain name, searchenginewatch.com, which is the only one we actively promote. But sometimes, it will list our site as if it is two different sites, searchenginewatch.com and www.searchenginewatch.com.

For example, look at this search. You'll see that the first page, How To Use HTML Meta Tags, uses the www.searchenginewatch.com domain. Then the third listing is the SEW home page, using the searchenginewatch.com domain.

That's a canonical problem. We're partially at fault. Somehow, we started doing a 302 temporary redirect rather than the 301 permanent redirect that's recommended, which I'm having fixed (we used to do a 301, and I don't know how that got messed up).

Despite our bad, it's still a search engine canonical error that it can't figure out these are the same site despite the wrong redirect being used. Or perhaps a better term is a domain name error -- it can't get the domain name right, and that's easier to understand, much less pronounce.

The entire mess also brings up the issue I've raised in the past, most recently with the MSN PageRank 2 case, about why ideally, site owners would simply be able to register the domain names they own with search engines in some trusted manner and indicate the preferred one that should be used. Then hijacking issues, canonical/domain name issues and other problems could more easily be solved.

LET'S GET ON WITH IT, SEARCH ENGINES! Who wants to continue with this type of madness?

Need to talk, discuss and commune about the update more? Part 3 of the Update Jagger over at WebmasterWorld is the latest multipart thread there. Oct. 2005 Google Update "Jagger" is the far more low-key discussion at our own Search Engine Watch Forums.


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