What if you want to display your best post for a category at the top of a Geneses category archive page to make a nice, strong landing page?
Search engines will get confused, not knowing which one to serve. If the rank is split between the two, neither may appear. The entire post will appear in two places on your site. Google, Bing etc won’t know which one to index. It will weaken the rank of both.
Moz has several great articles on Duplicate Content and the use of canonical tags to resolve the problem:
And, Google’s take on frequent mistakes and misuse – (this article is not about one of them!)
And, Google’s Matt Cutts, chief of WebSpam, on their use:
But, say you want to show the whole post, as well as excerpts and featured images from all the other posts in the category. A landing page like this can rank well, because all the excerpts are adding keywords and authority to it… if you can define which is the best source of the original content.
Create a landing page with the Genesis Archive template
The landing pages I’m building for several clients use the Genesis Category Archive template.
To make these category archive pages into landing pages, I’ve installed the Genesis Sandbox Featured Content Widget (GSFW) plugin, the Genesis Widgetized Archive (GWA) plugin, and the Dynamic Widgets (DW) plugin. I have Yoast WordPress SEO installed on all sites (always).
The setup begins with the creation of a page assigned to the Genesis Archive template, and given the title of the category to be displayed.
I use one instance of GSFW in the first Archive widget to pull the whole featured post using “include” and the post id. A second instance pulls the loop for the category, using excerpts and featured images, with a one-half column class (optional).
These widgets are constrained to the particular page only using the DW plugin – otherwise they’ll display on all Genesis archive pages.
This works well and makes cool landing pages. The other Archive widgets (there are 3 by default) can display ads or other items on these landing pages.
Refocus Content with Canonical Tags
The source of the content should resolve to the page with the most links and relevant content – which would be the new landing page. The featured post plus all of the excerpts will be more powerful than any particular post. Create a canonical tag on the featured post, pointing to the new landing page.
With Yoast SEO installed, there’s a problem to overcome in rewriting canonical tags, which is that Yoast writes them automatically by default. They have to be disabled on the posts you’re going to feature.
Remove the canonical tags on the posts you’re going to feature.
Put the following php into your functions.php of your child theme, replacing ### with the post id’s to which you want to add your custom canonicals.
In the post editor, scroll down to find the field “Scripts” (a feature of Genesis) and add your desired canonical tag there.
This post has been edited…. the original version suggested using the “Add to Head” WordPress plugin, but thanks to Tom Hickey’s comment on this post on Google+, I found you don’t need a plugin to add your custom canonical tag in Genesis.
This does the trick.