Tidbits from Webmaster World, Day 2

1. I finally got to meet Donna Fontenot of SEO Scoop. She has an excellent blog, and today made a point that ties in nicely to the current gambling environment here in Las Vegas. Manage your risk dudes and dudettes. Don’t put more on the line than you can afford to lose.

2. I stopped by the duplicate content sessions because I wanted to meet Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea, another excellent blog for all to read. Bill found some information on a new Google patent today of interest, related to the treatment of ambiguous search queries.

3. While in the duplicate content session, some one asked a question about the “site” tag, and whether or not this would solve the duplicate content problem, when you were syndicating content to other sites. So every one in the audience, including me has a blank look in there eyes, and we are all thinking “what the hell is he talking about?”. Then suddenly, I remembered that I knew the answer!”

So I starting jumping up and down and yelled “pick me! pick me!” … OK, I didn’t really do that. But as the microphone was on the other side of the room, I did explain what the deal was in my very loud broadcast voice.

There is a tag known as the Q tag which is used for short quotes, to which you can append a CITE attribute, where you put the URL of the original author of the page in between the quotes. The specific purpose of this attribute is for someone who is quoting another web page to provide a citation (i.e. and acknowledgement) to the original author of the content. In addition, you can also use the CITE attribute with the BLOCKQUOTE tag for longer articles, such as larger paragraphs of content, and potentially an entire web page. Sounds great, right? If the CITE attribute works as advertised, you now have a cheap and simple way to syndicate content to other sites.

Problem is that the search engines don’t look at it. Witness the fact that the Google and Yahoo representatives on the panel had never heard about it. In addition, I asked Matt Cutts about the CITE attribute about 6 months ago, and until I mentioned it, he had never heard about it either. I pushed the question on Matt 3 different times because I had a major client that was thinking of using this in their syndication strategy.

Matt has since provided me sufficient assurance that this attribute is not used by Google. So don’t rely on it!

So now that I am done with the state of the state on this point – shouldn’t the search engines support this attribute? What a wonderful idea! A simple and straightforward way for someone who is syndicating content to acknowledge the original author. This would provide a simple way for publishers and their syndication partners to clearly label legitimately syndicated (duplicate) content on the web.

Comments

  1. says

    Psst, if you say ‘the cite attribute on the q (or quote) tag’ then people should understand you better.
    When you confuse attributes and tags (let alone elements!) you confuse your listeners/readers :(

    Quibble: I believe the q tag is supposed to enclose *short* quoted pieces, for example a single sentence.
    It sounds like you really want the blockquote element, fortunately you can put a cite attribute on the blockquote opening tag, so the solution holds.
    :)
    I’m not sure about the semanticness (is that a word?) of enclosing the entire content of a page in a blockquote, but its worth investigating :)

  2. stonecold says

    Thanks for cleaning up my act on this! Perils of a late night post pushed out without clarifying the details. I have edited the post to reflect your input.

    Eric

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