According to SEMrush research, 50% of analyzed websites face duplicate content issues. Did you know that the duplicate contents can have serious negative impact in the ranking of your webpage? The problem can exponentially enlarge as your pages keep getting more viewers. In this article we will introduce you to duplicate content issues and then show you the common causes that can create the duplicate content issues. Finally we will show you how to fix duplicate content issues using simple steps.
How to Fix Duplicate Content Issues
Introduction to Duplicate Content
When the contents within domains either completely match other contents or are very much similar to other contents then the case of duplicate content occurs. Duplicate contents can also be said when the same content is being shown in multiple URLs. This is a serious problem according to Google and it can block such contents to avoid conflict in search results.
What Causes Duplication of Content ?
Out of many reasons we have handpicked some primary sources of duplication of content. If other websites are using your contents and not linking your original article then this can also result in multiple versions of same content. May be your programmer has misunderstandings about the URL structure. May be your website is appending Session ID to URL just to keep track of visitors. Many times URL are used for sorting and tracking purpose which can also result in multiple URLs of same content in search result. All the reasons can cause duplicate contents.
Not using pretty URL or user friendly URLs is another reason for the duplicate content. You can also check our article on “How to Make URLs SEO Friendly in WordPress” for getting pretty URLs for your website. Some WordPress features like using comment pagination system and having printer friendly pages can also cause the duplicate content error. Having both WWW and non-WWW versions of your website accessible to Google can also result in duplicate content.
Some Tools You Can Use to Identify Duplicate Content Issues
1. Duplicate Content Checker
There are many online tools available for helping you identify the content collision in your website. Seoreviewtools.com has a wonderful duplicate content checker that can be pretty useful.
2. Search operators in Google queries
The best way to identify the duplicate contents is by searching the suspicious titles and snippets in the Google. You can take help of search operators to narrow down the search results.
First check if your site is in Google or not with the help of site: search operator.
Now you can check if the right page is ranking for the right keyword in the following way.
site:mustbeweb.com WordPress Hosting
You can also use intitle: search operator with keywords inside the double quotes to narrow the search result.
site:mustbeweb.com intitle:"WordPress Hosting"
There are number of search operators available. You can use these to your advantage by identifying how your site is ranking and how duplicate contents are being dumped by Google.
3. Google Webmaster Tools
You can use Google Webmaster Tools to identify the duplicate contents. If you haven’t added your website in the Google Webmaster tool, you can do so by simply clicking add a property button. You may need to follow few instructions to verify our property. Once your website is added to the webmaster tool you can go to Search Appearance > HTML Improvements. If the HTML improvements page has duplicate description and duplicate title tag links then that is the indication of your website containing the duplicate contents. By simply clicking the links you can view URLs of duplicate item. Then you can individually identify the issue and solve the problem.
Practical Solutions on How to Fix Duplicate Content Issues
1. Solutions to the common issues
A lot of duplicate content issues can be solved using simple steps. If your URL is storing session ID then you can simply disable it from your systems settings. In WordPress you may have the comment pagination. You can disable the comment pagination by going to Settings > Discussion. Using hash tag based campaign tracking instead of parameter based campaign tracking can solve many instances of duplication of content.
2. Use 301 to Redirecting duplicate content to the canonical URL
If you already have some duplication of content issues then first choose a preferred URL and redirect others to it. Even if you have solved some other duplicate content issues, it is necessary to redirect the old duplicate content URL to proper canonical URL. Also if you have recently restructured you site then it is recommended that you use 301 redirects to redirect users and Search engines.
3. Adding a canonical link element to the duplicate page
Lets imagine the case when you can’t get rid of the duplicate content. For such cases the canonical link element exists. The canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page. If search engines find more than one URL with the same content then the link URL with canonical link will be regarded as the original source of the content. It is placed in the head section and looks like this.
<head> <link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/" /> </head>
4. Adding an HTML link from the duplicate page to the canonical page
If none of the above mentioned steps work for your case then you can simply insert a link directing to the original content at the top or bottom of your content. You may also need do this in the RSS feed of your page.
5. Miscellaneous Solutions
Be consistent with the internal linking. Try to use the top-level domains to help Google find the most appropriate version of a document. Encourage those who use your content to include the noindex meta tag. Use Parameter Handling tool to tell Google how you would like your URL to be treated. Try to minimize similar contents as much as possible.
In some cases website publishers deliberately duplicate contents across domains in order to be seen in search results. This is deceptive and is an evil practice. This can leave the impression of horrible user experience about your site for your visitors. Moreover if Google finds the intentional duplicate contents then your ranking may suffer and site might be removed entirely from the Google index. We hope that this article on how to fix duplicate content issues was helpful in removing the duplicate content issues in your website. You can also read our other article on “How to Make URLs SEO Friendly in WordPress“.
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