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

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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