We had our wise and well-informed SEO guru in today and asked many questions about how to construct a few sites that we're planning with many thousands of overlapping pages. He answered our complex question with a single magic phrase. Canonical URLs.
I said huh and he answered with, but I'm not sure that it'll work for multisites. So I googled multisite canonical URLs and learned from the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog:
Ways of handling cross-domain content duplication
you can use the rel="canonical" link element across domains to specify the exact URL of whichever domain is preferred for indexing. While the rel="canonical" link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, we do try to follow it where possible.
just when I think I'm starting to get what in the heck you are talking about..... (((sigh)))
Topsy. It's a fancy term which I just learned yesterday. Start with this, Google doesn't want to list the same content multiple times.
On a blog, you might write an article about sheeps on farms. You might tag it twice: sheeps, farms. So if a person (or spider) follows the sheep tag, they'll find the article under a URL related to that tag. The same article is available under it's original name, two different tag URLs, and maybe one by date.
The blog (should) tell Google what is the Most Important (canonical) URL for that content.
The idea can then be extended so you can tell Google which version of content across multiple sites is the one that you want them to consider.
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