Technology

Tell search engines where to find the original listing

Using 'canonical' tag could help relieve tension between aggregators and listing agents

Last week I wrote a column about the authorship tag. It tells Web software who wrote a particular piece of content, such as a listing.This week we'll go a step further and tell software where the original version of the listing can be found. It uses the same technique -- a simple line of code that is invisible to people.It's called the canonical tag. Since so many things in the digital world are already referred to as "source" -- source code for software, source attributes in images, open source/closed source, etc. -- I suppose we can forgive the namers for using a fancy word like "canonical."In the same sense that the author tag from last week simply tells machines the same thing we already tell people, the canonical tag also tells machines what we already share: where can the original source for this listing be found.Telling people where to buy the listingCurrently, consumers know where to find the source of a listing. We display this to them by saying who the b...

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