Home Business Insights & Advice Duplicate content SEO best practices: How to find and fix it

Duplicate content SEO best practices: How to find and fix it

by John Saunders
3rd Feb 20 3:44 pm

A concise definition of duplicate content.

In simple terms, duplicate content refers to content that is a replica of published content or is highly similar to it. The presence of the same or similar content on different websites or pages gives rise to this issue.

Copied content can affect the online presence of a website

Usually, there are two routes through which duplicate content creeps inside, one is deliberate content copying, and another is a technical glitch. However, duplicate content can be effectively removed from a website by finding out the types of duplicate content problems existing within the website.

Search engine optimisation gets affected with the presence of The copied content

It is to be noted that duplicate matter is not of minimal value because it confounds search parameters of search engines. Optimisation is profoundly affected by duplicate content. Hence, avoiding it in all instances is a wise decision.

How does duplicate content affect SEO?

Before delving into the process of removing duplicate content, it is essential to understand the importance of SEO for websites and the negative impact of duplicate content on SEO. The word duplicate refers to one or more replicas of a piece of content.

It implies that there are multiple versions of the content on the Internet. When search engines scan for results to a search query, it becomes difficult for the search engine to index the most authoritative version that is to be featured on the result page.

Multiple presence of the same content can affect the search engine ranking

It, in turn, diminishes the likelihood of all the versions to receive due to prominence in the search result. Consequently, the ranking of the original site can go down as the same versions are left competing against each other.

The link metrics won’t be adequately consolidated for the content that has more than one version. It affects the authority site relevancy and also the trust factor. Hence, it is quite evident that several identical versions of webpages negatively impact SEO.

Do search engines penalise duplicate content?

It is often thought that the presence of duplicate content attracts a penalty from search engines. The search engine Google has addressed the matter.

As per Google, the presence of duplicate content doesn’t immediately attract any penal action until and unless the website attempts to use duplicate content with the explicit intention of deceiving search engines.

Content marketing gets affected with duplicate content penalty

Manipulation of results with duplicate content is not uncommon, and if that is the case, then surely preventative measures are taken by the appropriate authority.

If website owners or developers do not take note of the actions that are enlisted for removing duplicate content from their sites, then the search engines have a sophisticated algorithm for choosing the most trustworthy version of the page, and that gets featured on the result page.

It reveals that Google doesn’t penalise website owners who are facing duplicate content issues due to technical problems. However, scraping content and posting it on one’s website can surely become a problem.

Fixing common types of duplicate content

Plagiarism is not the only cause of duplicate content SEO. In many cases, it has been observed that the problem in the development of the website is the root cause of duplicate content. The most troubling types of duplicate content are discussed below, along with solutions for getting rid of those problems:

  • Differing website versions:

It is a common occurrence where a website has both WWW and non- WWW versions. The same issue is also prevalent in HTTP and HTTPs versions. Firstly, it is to be noted that when the webserver gets correctly configured, then it is content serving path is mentioned.

It is also known as the preferred path. However, flimsy web server configurations can cause content to be accessed through different domains. Due to this problem, ranking gets affected.

In case the preferred mode of showing content is not chosen are there are many versions on the internet. The first task is to choose the authoritative version, and the next task is to insert a 301 redirect option on all the other versions of the website.

In this way, the preferred version receives the organic traffic, and search engines also identify the original webpage.

  • Multiple URL structures:

URLs are treated as case-sensitive by Google. Typing errors can create different versions of the same link. It results in separate indexing of the same URL.

The presence of a trailing slash also makes search engines treat it as a different URL, but it leads to the same content. Hence inconsistencies in URL structure lead to duplicate content.

This problem can be handled by selecting a preferred URL version, and the other variants of the same URL must include a 301 redirect.

  • Several URLs accessing the homepage

The wrong configuration in the web server can result in many URLs that are used to access the main page of a website.

In this case, the preferred URL linking to the home page has to be chosen, redirects are useful for plugging the multiple access routes, but in many cases, it has been observed that the different URLs also contain useful content for users.

Redirect option is not to be used for such URLs; instead, the pages should get canonicalised.

  • URL filtering:

The website is developed in such a way so that URLs can get filtered according to their function. This filtering action does not affect user interaction, but for the search engines, this creates much confusion.

The filter function gives rise to innumerable URL combinations. The order of URL parameters leads to slightly different looking links having the same content.

The problem gets resolved by implementing canonical URLs for the significant and unfiltered pages individually. It prevents duplicate content and also enhances the page’s authority.

There is also another option where parameter handling in Google Search Console can be used for better crawling of the site.

  • Content sharing on third party sites:

Content created by a person gets shared on other websites to acquire more exposure. It is a common practice. Individuals also post content from other sites to their site, or on social media. As a web content creator, it is essential to note whether the due acknowledgment gets provided with the shared content.

For search engines, all the places where the content is present become a replica. A duplicate content checker helps in determining the presence of copied articles on different sites.

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