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Google Sidewiki Hacks

Already found two useful hacks in Google Sidewiki, although I still wonder why it’s around.

Make links work

If you create a link in a Sidewiki entry, Google adds on some annoying extra stuff, so that:
www.portentinteractive.com/services.htm
becomes
www.portentinteractive.com/services.htm&sa=D&sntz=1
That’s an invalid link, and it’ll give you a 404 error every time.
The fix is easy: When you insert the link into Sidewiki, add any query string you want to the end of your URL. So the URL above becomes:
www.portentinteractive.com/services.htm?this=that
Now, when Google adds their stuff, you get:
www.portentinteractive.com/services.htm?this=that&sa=D&sntz=1
A valid link. Woo-hoo!

Turn off Google Sidewiki for your site

This is a little trickier, and could have SEO implications, so use it carefully. It’s also uber geeky, so skip it if code makes your head hurt. But, if the reputation management implications of Sidewiki catch up with you, it’ll be worth investigating:
Google Sidewiki is URL-driven. So, if folks do Sidewiki entries for ‘www.portent.com’, then Sidewiki will only appear for that URL.
It won’t appear for, say, ‘www.portent.com#leavemealone’.
So, you could write a script that does a 301 redirect to a bookmark, and randomly generate a different bookmark each time. The result:
Folks navigate to ‘www.portent.com’.
They get:
www.portent.com#awev
www.portent.com#32fda
Etc..
Sidewiki will no longer appear, because there are no entries for that URL.
That’s a lot of 301s, though. You could try a 302, or even go as far as doing some sneaky cloaking (sorry, IP delivery), and get away with it.
I’ll update this page as more stuff comes up.

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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