Google Attacks Duplicate Content

This seems to have gone, fairly unnoticed, but it’s really a very big deal for ecommerce websites as a whole… Especially Zen Cart. Duplication for sorted and alternate view urls continues to be a problem for shop owners. The new rel=”canonical” attribute is excellent, but in our dynamic shopping carts implementation is a nightmare for most. So, Google to the rescue (at least for their results) as now in your Google Webmaster Tools you can adjust your parameter handling for Google.

Parameter Handling:

Parameter handling allows you to view which parameters Google believes should be ignored or not ignored at crawl time, and to overwrite our suggestions if necessary.

This is a very informative video about how Google handles duplicate content and fully debunks the “Duplicate Content Penalty” myth as well.

To make use of the new parameter handling tool in your Google Webmaster Tools, simply expand the “Site Configuration” tab in your left menu and select “Settings”. On the setting page you will find parameter handling… and it might say something like this:

Googlebot has crawled your site and made a few parameter suggestions.
Adjust parameter settings »

Upon clicking the “Adjust parameter settings” link additional information and setting will drop down below it. In these setting you will see parameters Google has already discovered, suggestions and the opportunity to add parameters as well.

Most interesting that Google has found proper pages from our Zen Cart store already.

Parameter Handling for a Zen Cart
Parameter Handling for a Zen Cart

You can clearly see that Google has identified some of the most common dupliction issues in our Zen Cart already and has suggested another… That is also wholey duplicate. Now you can see below we have taken a few of Google’s suggestions and added them to our ignored parameters.

Zen Cart ignored parameters
Zen Cart ignored parameters

While this only helps your Google handling, it certainly gives you some quality insight in to your store, its duplicate content and helps you identify areas of need to better solve the same duplication issues with other crawlers. All in all, nice tool from G.

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