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Fixing Duplicate Content Issue on Your Website Made Easier

Fixing Duplicate Content Issue on Your Website Made Easier

Posted on: Mar 13, 2020 13 Min read

In this on-going age of online shopping, Google brings business to corporate brands and establishments. But Google is very strict about duplicate content. If it catches you using duplicate content on your website, you can be rest assured that your business website will go for a toss in almost no time. 

What is duplicate content?

The term ‘duplicate content’ is becoming increasingly relevant across the SEO industry as Google is becoming strict and merciless to weed out any spam content.  Duplicate content is just duplicate (pause) content. In other words, it means copied content, which has been copied from an already existing webpage.

Duplicate content creates a hell lot of confusion for search engines. 

Skilled and experienced SEO consultants based in London explain that when search engines come across duplicate content in several different website pages, they cannot decide which page they should rank.  Each duplicate page of course has a different URL. 

Users are likely to see the same thing across those pages but the search engines including Google see each of those pages as different. As a result, they assign varied SEO juice, ranking and page authority to the pages.

This overall matter not only looks clumsy but more importantly it can also affect the SEO of the page, which you want to rank on SERP.

At this stage, you may think that falling into multiple positions in the SERP may help. Yes, you are correct in your thought but you also have to be little smart when executing this strategy.  

Reasons why duplicate content appears

You did not intend to create a copy of a page that already exist, yet it happened. In reality, this is one of the commonest examples behind duplicate content. 

  • How is it created?
  • Where does the duplicate page come from?

Some of the common unintentional causes behind duplicate content creation include the following:

  • Your website makes use of a URL system that generates multiple versions of the same page on its own. Every variation of the page looks the same but with a different URL.
  • The URL of a webpage contains HTTPS while another does not. Those webpage versions are not two different webpages but duplicate of one another.
  • Either you publish a physical or HTML version of a page that already exists.  

There are many other factors that lead to this problematic issue. These include:

  • Dynamic URLs
  • Old and forgotten webpage versions
  • Session IDs

Content syndication 

Why duplicate content creates a problem

Duplicate content creates a big problem for any website. 

Suppose you have two separate webpages with the same content published on them. One of the webpages possesses the primary URL while the other one is just a duplicate.

Both these pages have:

  • Own distinct SEO juice
  • Different backlinks
  • Different page authority scores

In this situation you can do one of the two following things:

  • Leave both of the pages on their own to rank by their individual merit
  • Merge and join their ranking signals

The latter option is a smart approach while the former one will definitely affect the overall ranking of that particular page at some point.

As a matter of fact, over 50% of the websites all over the world are plagued by duplicate content issues and as a result of that, their SEO is seriously affected. 

When you leave both the webpages on their own to rank in SERP, it is like half of your army is dispatched to fight a war while the other half is sent to fight another battle elsewhere. 

Any military general would love to combine his forces to give a stiffer resistance to the enemy, right? 

Ideally, you should instruct Google which of the page versions should be given priority. Google accordingly channelises all of the SEO juice generated from both the duplicate pages to the one you specify. This page is called canonical page.   

Setting up a canonical page

There are several ways to set up a canonical page. Here we will discuss 3 of the most relevant procedures.

Using the rel=canonical tag

On most occasions, the rel=canonical tag proves to be the best way when it comes to setting up a canonical page or transfer the entire SEO juice generated from a duplicate page to a specific page on the website.

Basically this is an HTML tag and when you add it to a page, it tells the search engines that this is the page that you want to be indexed. 

As a result, when Google comes across duplicate pages, it collects all the SEO juice from those duplicate pages and attributes that to the canonical page. 

Technically speaking, rel=canonical tag is similar to 310 redirect but is much simpler and hassle-free to implement. 

The duplicate page (or pages) does not vanish away when you use the rel=canonical tag. Google just recognises those pages as duplicate of another.

Adding rel=canonical tag to WordPress websites

Adding the tag to WordPress websites is a comparatively easier task. There are many plug-ins available to make the task easier. You can also do it manually to your basic or primary domain. Just add the following code at the header of your existing theme template:
 
Now Google knows where it should send the SEO juice from the duplicate content pages. As a result, the ranking of your canonical page immediately improves in the SERP.

301 Redirect

Sometimes you want only the primary version of your duplicate pages to exist and dispose the rest to build a clutter-free environment.

You can dispose the duplicate pages and at the same time gain mileage from them to boost the ranking of your canonical page. This is where 301 Redirect proves helpful.

301 Redirect is simple. Whenever a visitor tries to visit page A, you will channelise them to page B instead when using this feature. 

Point to be noted by virtue of a 301 Redirect is that you do not delete a page. The feature only redirects your visitors of page A to page B. In reality, no one gets to see the page A although page A still helps page B rank better in SERP. 

Since the page A still exists, all its SEO juice automatically flows to page B.

Search engines are very efficient in handling 301 Redirects. 

It is important to mention here that 302 Redirects have temporary effect whereas 301 Redirects are permanent. 

Setting passive parameters in the Google Search Console (GSC)

Relying on passive GSC parameters for the long run is never a bright idea although it is a great short-term strategy. 

When you set certain URLs in your website as passive, Google instructs its search bot to ignore those URLs.

This is how the strategy helps you to resolve the issue of duplicate content. 

Log into GSC ? Click on the URL parameters placed on the left of the screen.

Include the URL of the webpage you want to mark as passive.

Then select the option “No: Doesn’t affect page content ****”

As you click the Save button, that particular URL gets registered as passive in the Google Search results. The page does not show up when users search your website. 

On the flip side, that marked URL is deprived of getting any SEO juice from its duplicate pages that are not marked as passive in the GSC.

If that removed page (removed from the search bot’s access) has very little page authority or is relatively fresh, you won’t face many problems, opine top SEO leaders working at DubSEO.  

This is how you can effectively resolve the problem of duplicate content pages. Please feel free to contact us for more information or help regarding duplicate content.  
 


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