Blogger has started using Country Specific URLs and some of you might have already noticed it. The change has been rolled out in India.If you are from India try visiting any BlogSpot URL and you will be redirected to the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD). For example if you visit any page on http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com from India , you will be redirected to the country specific page on http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.in . Similarly if you visit any other ccTLDs from India, you will be redirected to the Indian TLD.eg: http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com.au (Australian TLD) will redirect to the Indian TLD .
Blogger has made a help page entry describing why they have made this change. You can read that at Blogger Help As per the article the change might soon be rolled out to other countries as well.
Why This Change?
This change was specifically made to enable country wise censorship.
“By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD.”
Who is affected by this Change?
Everyone Blogger user who doesn’t have a custom domain name(but has readers across the globe) irrespective of the country you are from is affected by this change. Right now it seems like the change has been rolled out only in India. So when an Indian user visits your blog, he will be redirected to the .in TLD. using a 302 redirect.
What should I do Now ?
The first thing that you have to do is to make sure that you are using Canonical tag on your blog Pages. This should be there by default in all templates unless you hacked the template and removed some code from there.
Make sure that the following line is there in your Blog Template
<b:include data='blog' name='all-head-content'/>
This tag will render the canonical tag for you.
If you don’t want to add this tag for some reason, then you can use the following tag in the template’s head section.
<link expr:href="data:blog.canonicalUrl" rel="canonical"/>
data:blog.canonicalUrl will give you the actual canonical URL(blogspot.com ).
What does the Canonical Tag do ?
The Canonical tag specifies the actual location of the page. Even if you are viewing a blogspot.in page, the canonical tag will let the search engines know where the actual page is located(the blogspot.com version)
If you don’t have the canonical tag on your pages, you might get into trouble on search engines which might index different country specific pages of your Blog. Your Social Counters(Facebook Like Button, Google Plus One button etc) will show the wrong count and will allow users to share different country specific versions of your Page. Adding the Canonical tag will ensure that the same blogspot.com page gets shared on social networks and so the counters will display the same count irrespective of the country the visitor is from.
Custom Domain Blogs like mine will not be affected by this change.
Dynamic View Templates
Dynamic View Templates doesn’t render the canonical tag(when I’m writing this post). Hence non-custom domain blogs which use Dynamic View Templates will face the issues that I have mentioned above. I have reported this to the Blogger guys and hope this will soon be resolved.
Update :- Blogger has now addressed this issue and now the canonical tags have been added to Dynamic View Templates as well.
No Country Redirect (NCR)
If you want to temporarily prevent Blogger from doing a country specific redirect while viewing a blogspot blog, then you can use the NCR option.
Examples : http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/ncr will give you the .com version without redirecting to your ccTLD
http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com.au/ncr will give the australian ccTLD without redirecting to your ccTLD
Google Plus One and Facebook Like Buttons
The first reaction that I heard on Social Media Sites is about the Social Counters. This change won’t affect your counters. When a page gets shared on Facebook, FB always shares the Canonical URL. So you don’t have to worry about the FB counters. Google Plus will allow you to share non-canonical URLs, but since G+ doesn’t have any counter based on number of shares, this won’t be an issue. The Facebook Like Buttons or the Google +1 Buttons will always use the Canonical URL, so counters won’t have a problem with this update(provided you have the canonical tag)
Update (1/2/2012): Since most of the Social Counters were not configured to use Canonical URLs, they might show wrong counts. All template tweak posts here on this blog has now been updated to use Canonical URLs. If you are using the data:post.url variable in any of the social plugins, then you will have to replace it with data:post.canonicalUrl. If you are using data:blog.url anywhere for social plugins, then you will have to replace it with data:blog.canonicalUrl . You might get some idea if you check out the updated posts here on this blog.