Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Google Sites Updates - New Organization, SEO & Social Features

Intro
We love to see Google Sites updates come along, don't we? I am happy to report of three updates to Google Sites:

  1. File Cabinet Sorting & Collapse Folders Ability
  2. Canonical Web Addresses
  3. Embed a Google Plus post

These have each rolled out individually over the past month or two (sorry for not updating you sooner!) Let's discuss each update, how it impacts Google Sites and why you should care.

File Cabinet Sorting & Collapse Folders Ability
This feature is the newest and can be useful for those of you still using the File Cabinet page template, as opposed to embedding multiple Google Drive Folders. Essentially here's what you do:

Go to More
Page Settings
There you will see:
  • Collapse folders by default
  • Show column headers
This is only available on File Cabinet type pages. To setup as a File Cabinet (webpage template is the default). Do this:
  • More
  • Change Page Template
  • Choose File Cabinet
This is a nice feature, but I question as to the degree to which it was needed. Don't get me wrong, it's nice. If you have a lot of files and want to organize them better, this is an excellent option for you, take advantage of it.



Canonical Web Address
I don't expect everyone to know what this means, so I will spell it out. The canonical web address is the preferred web address for Google or other search engines to rank. Think about it, your Google Site really has two locations:
  • http://sites.google.com/a/example.com/website-title
  • www.example.com
In most cases, you want www.example.com to be the better ranking location and not the long Google Sites URL. Also, this tells search engines not to demerit your website for having duplicate information on the web. This is assigned, by default, to the www.example.com as canonical if you add it as a Web Address. This is beneficial for having Google Sites be on equal SEO playing field with other Web Building platforms.


Embed Google Plus Post
It makes sense that Google Sites should have a relationship for using Google Plus. First was the commenting system in Sites (still in need of public comments!) and then came the embed a Google Plus post ability. Basically, grab the link to your post and plug it into Google's homegrown gadget. Voila. A novel widget.



Conclusion
It's nice that the Google Sites team is pumping out steady updates to the Platform. It seems that public-facing and private-facing are both favorably updated. I can't wait to see what's next.

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