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Andy Millne

IP.Blog 2.6: SEO Improvements and Microformats

With the recent IP.Board 3.3 update much emphasis was placed on search engine optimization. Many areas were found where a small change would make a big difference in preventing duplicate content, reducing crawl errors and ultimately resulting in better rankings. One of the goals for IP.Blog 2.6 was to continue this trend and identify potential improvements.

Duplicate Content
Recent algorithm changes used by the major search engines have highlighted duplicate content as a particularly relevant problem. With modern web applications such as IP.Blog it is often possible for interface elements to cause genuinely unique content to unintentionally fall into this trap.

One such area we have addressed in IP.Blog is the filtering of blogs on the index page. By filtering and sorting the content on these pages, the same content can be displayed in slightly different ways. Canonical tags have now been added causing content to be attributed to the single canonical URL regardless of the URL search engines use to enter the page.

Page Titles
When viewing individual categories within a blog the title shown was always that of the blog itself. For IP.Blog 2.6 we have tweaked these titles to also include the category name in the format;

Category Name - Blog Name - Site Name

Additionally, canonical tags have been added to these pages to prevent further problems with duplicate content.

Dead End Links
With IPB 3.3 we introduced changes to the way user profiles were linked. In cases where site owners disallowed profile viewing for guests, there were still numerous links to profiles throughout the site that resulted in permission denied error messages being served to search engines. Now, if you don't have permission to view a profile, then the username and profile photo are no longer hyperlinked. This functionality has been extended to IP.Blog for the 2.6 release

Microformat and Schema Updates
As well as improvements made to help your site rank higher, making those results also stand out is an increasing concern for site owners and webmasters. With IP.Blog 2.6 we've introduced two such changes to further expand your audience.

Links to user profiles from blog entry pages now include the rel="author" microformat tag. This tag, when combined with a link to a compatible social network in the user profile, will allow search engines to identify and display author info directly in search results like so;

Additionally, blog entry ratings have now also been tagged with appropriate schema data so entry ratings will display alongside search results further highlighting those entries.

The addition of these small changes both assists search engines in finding relevant content and at the same time improves usability for the end user.

It is also worth noting that the majority of these changes have come about as a direct result of user contributed feedback in the IP.Blog Feedback forum. We're very excited that we are able to continually act on readily shared experiences in this way and welcome any further comments you may have.

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