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April 29, 2012

Canonical Version of Duplicate Websites

Writing about web page

My links back to the old I-buy-Spy Microsoft CMS system are getting more removed as the MS-Office Live SB websites are shutting down tomorrow. They offered their Office 365 alternative at a reasonable rate but did not provide porting tools and SEO still required bodging.

So I re-hosted my website in Europe where my new provider’s free domain name offer included .eu domains so I claimed .

Duplicate Content BarredWhen selecting my main domain I also registered to have a shorter domain for the phone and email addresses.
Then I registered the ‘dash’ variants;

This now adds up to 5 domains that instantly gets doubled when you add the www. variants which are treated as sub-domains the University of Warwick, Research Archive Portal.

With Microsoft I could use the three main ways to manage the DNS settings:
  1. Donating the Domain names to the host’s Nameservers.
  2. Directing the domain to the Host’s server’s IP address, using ‘A’ or Address Records.
  3. Pointing one hostname to another using CNAME Records or Canonical name records.

My new host only allowed new domains to be added using A records.
I could still have used CNAME or simple redirection externally from the server but since I already had .eu and that MUST be managed this way, already 4 domains I needed to solve the duplication problem.

I halved the problem by adding canonical links in the page headers but these cannot work across domains so this can only manage the www. duplication.
These links looked like this:
link rel=”canonical” href=””/
link rel=”canonical” href=””/
(You will need to add the < and > characters around these lines. I removed then so these will show on this Blog.)

Actually there is hope for the .eu and duplication from Google’s Webmaster Tools help :

“In a situation like this, you can use the rel=”canonical” link element across domains to specify the exact URL of whichever domain is preferred for indexing. While the rel=”canonical” link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, we do try to follow it where possible.”

I experimented with CNAME Records but I needed to be able to finish the job off on the server so the three minor domain names were simply used 301 Permanent redirection as the cleanest, safest solution.

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