Minimize Duplicate Content by Avoiding DNN's LinkClick.aspx
Almost a year ago in my DNN SEO quick start guide I talked about minimizing duplicate content by crafting “well-formed internal links” and over the last few months many of you wrote in to ask what exactly I meant by that.
We’ll get to the bottom of the issue in a moment, but first let’s refresh the idea of “duplicate content” again. Ideally, every URL of your website should correspond to exactly one unique page within your website. And that’s generally how it worked back in the day when most sites were made up of static HTML pages. That all changed though as larger sites started moving their content into databases and pages were assembled “on the fly.” And as ecommerce and content management systems gained in popularity, multiple URLs leading to the same page became quite common. That in turn did not sit well with Google and other search engines as it undermines the quality of web search results, which sparked rumors of search engines coming down on webmasters with “duplicate content penalties.”
Today, according to Google, there is no need to lose sleep over duplicate content as long as you try to minimize it by reasonable means. One way of doing so is to pay attention to the internal links you create within DotNetNuke. Our number one enemy here is the DNN URL control (also known as LinkClick.aspx), which facilitates link building in modules such Announcements, Links, Text/HTML and others.
As you can see in the above screenshots, when you go through the steps of creating a link the “point and click” way in the FCKeditor, you’ll end up with an anchor tag that looks like this:
<a href="/LinkClick.aspx?link=53&tabid=56">DNN SEO Blog</a>
Technically this link obviously works, meaning it will take your visitor to the intended page on your site. However, you’ve just produced a piece of duplicated content in the eyes if search engines as you’ve now 2 URLs leading to one and the same page. Furthermore, and maybe more importantly, you are wasting “link juice” or “votes” for the page you are linking to by referencing it via multiple URLs. Here is what the anchor tag should look like instead:
<a href="/blog.aspx">DNN SEO Blog</a>
As a general rule, follow the URL structure as laid out in your main menu. If you have to rely on creating links via FCK’s Insert/Edit Link button, then typing or pasting the URL from the browser address bar is your only option:
And if you think that switching to a different WYSIWYG editor will solve the problem, think again. Telerik’s editor, for instance, creates URLs such as this one when picking from the Custom Links dropdown:
<a href="/Default.aspx?TabName=Blog">DNN SEO Blog</a>
Hardly any better.
The very same problem arises when using the Links and the Announcements module with link counter turned on:
Simply unchecking “Track Number of Times this Link is Clicked?” takes care of the issue here. I like to argue that link tracking is better handled by your web analytics provider instead of DNN itself.
Starting with version 4, DotNetNuke has considerably cut down on duplicate content issues, but the dreaded LinkClick.aspx is still with us to this day. Fortunately, a heightened awareness of what’s going on behind the UI and a basic understanding of what constitutes a well-formed link is all it takes to minimize duplicated content and maximize link equity when linking between pages in DNN.
As always, I’d like to hear from you. Do you consider LinkClick.aspx your friend or foe? What other duplicate content issues have you run into in your daily DotNetNuke adventures?
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