TypePad Connect and rel=”canonical”

Some time ago I created MediaWiki Widget for TypePad Connect:

While editing a wiki page and going to different versions of it, I noticed that Comments widget has a well known issue – it has no idea which comments should be displayed on the page if page has different URLs (ad campaign tracking codes will probably be a main commercial issue, but also editing interfaces in MediaWiki and other CMS softwares and so on) – you can see example of what I’m talking about on these two pages:

which represent the same content page with different URL.

Other frameworks like JS-Kit, for example, solve this problem by allowing to pass URL or ID of the page to the widget, but I just had an idea about new approach to this issue.

The thing is that Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft just announced a new tag in order to fight SEO spam (and I already installed MW extension from Wikia):

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mediawikiwidgets.org/TypePad_Connect"/>

The idea is very simple – they just need to know all the pages that legitimately think that they are copies of page X so their smart algorithm that fights page duplication spam will have more clues.

But the side effect is that tools like TypePad Connect or JS-Kit can automatically, on the fly identify the pages they should serve content for. All you need to do is to write a simple jQuery code like this (my first line of jQuery) :

var canonical = $('html:first > head:first > link[rel=canonical]').attr('href');

I think all of us will benefit if widgetized tool providers like TypePad will push for this as solution to the page identity problems.

I hope this will be included into a list of high priority issues and TypePad Connect will get improved first (I actually enjoyed creating widget for it – it was much-much easier then with other vendors).

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