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Smart Tips Fixing Your Duplicate URLs in Google Search Control

Tips to Fix Frightening Duplicate URLs in Google Search Control

Posted on: Feb 03, 2020 9 min read

Do you know what a trailing slash is? It is the slash (‘/’) that comes at the end of an URL.

Whether a trailing slash is included or not, you can conveniently reach the same site.

That is both the URLs below which will take you to the same website.

  • https://www.website.co.uk/
  • https://www.website.co.uk

Apparently, and for non-technical minds, the tiny slash does not matter. But is it same for professionals too?

An experienced search engine optimiser in London says, in Google Analytics (GA) this is going to make a havoc difference. It may be mentioned here that the search engine optimiser works in a leading SEO agency in London and possesses years of in-depth industry experience.

It is relevant mentioning that when you omit a trailing .HTML (or anything similar) at the end of a URL, many websites – particularly those powered by Magento and WordPress frameworks – allow access to the same webpage.

But with Google Analytics, the matter is different. It records the two versions (with and without the trailing slash) of the URL differently. The GA is least bothered whether the content is the same or not. It only shoulders the responsibility of recording page-view URLs, which are different by including and omitting the trailing slash.

And it is important that you get this issue fixed early. How? Keep reading through this blog post to find out.

How the two URL versions arise?

There are different ways by which users get the two versions of your website URL. These include the following:

  • Your affiliate partners may share the version of your website link that you don’t want to have.
  • Members in your team may not know the official version of the URL.
  • Your web developer may be in the dark regarding the URL version you approve while adding new features to the website.
  • Inbound links including blogs do not ask you about the version of the link you prefer.

Why it is crucial to duplicate URL issue

There are many reasons for which you must promptly fix the issue of duplicate URLs. These include the following:

  • Clean data: Dirty data like this will invariably affect your decisions when it comes to auditing the data and trying to gain an insight on the campaign performance.
  • Save crucial time: Technical analysts will require more time when it comes to giving correct insights when they have to work with dirty data to measure a campaign’s performance.  This is because it requires manual intervention.

It is not always possible to prevent duplicate URL generation. But, what you can do is keep removing them from the GA to avoid any confusion or negatively affecting the data analytics.

Fixing duplicate links or URLs

SEO experts in London suggest the following tips to overcome the problem of duplicate links or URLs:

  • Generate a fresh Google Analytics view.
  • Create a brand new advanced filter using regex.

Point to note:

You must add a trailing slash to a URL under the following conditions:

  • If a URL does not have a question mark or query parameter at the end (AND)
  • The URL is standalone (AND)
  • The URL has no trailing slash

The following is the regex for testing the advanced rule:

^(/[a-z0–9/_-]*[^/])$

Once this is completed, just save the filter.

Test whether the new filter works smoothly as expected. Here are some easy tips to test it.

  • Make use of the Real Time report in the GA
  • Open a browser and try logging to the site version that you want to test (like https://www.dubseo.co.uk/portfolio)
  • Open a second browser and try logging to the same URL using a trailing slash (like https://www.dubseo.co.uk/portfolio/)

Access the following path in Google Analytics:

Google Analytics -> Real Time Report -> Top Active Pages

There, you will see both the active pages resulting from the steps above.   

It is important to note that this filter does not update historical data on its own. It just keeps forwarding the new data or updated information.

While fixing the issue of duplicate URLs, let’s also explore how to fix duplicate content issues quickly.

Fixing issues related to duplicate content

Duplicate content issues usually arise from the following:

A product or products that can be accessed through more than one URL: This problem arises when your customers can access your products through both

  • .com/category/product-name (AND)
  • .com/product-name

But, you can easily overcome this issue simply by having an identical canonical link set on both the pages.

For final checking, you have to visit every product page on the website -> right click the mouse -> view page source -> press the ‘control’ or ‘command’ button along with F to search for the term “canonical”.

Your products have siblings or variants that have the same description as well as specification data

This can be a little tricky based on the e-Commerce framework you have like Magento, WooCoomerce and Shopify.

Suppose you have a Product page where users can select a variant like size or colour. Your URL will change where you have a query parameter at the end while no on-page content changes. In such circumstance, you may want to remove size in the Google Search Console setting. It is alright making the necessary changes provided you’ve already placed a canonical link with reference to the last step.

You may have Product pages where similar products are broken down into separate pages based on each variant and all the individual pages use the same content. Now, this is indeed a tricky situation. To overcome this problem, you can try out any of the options below:

  • Re-work on the content so that it is not duplicated any more.
  • Set a canonical link on all the variant products except one – the parent product.
  • Override the meta robots tag to “follow.noindex” although this is not a recommended option.

Sorting and filtering options of Category pages not sorted in Google Search Console

You need to customise the URL parameter setting in the GSC to achieve this aspect, suggest experienced search engine optimisers at DubSEO. Basically, this enables you to control the Google bot when it comes to crawling your website more efficiently.

When you sort by ‘a-to-z’ or price ‘high-to-low’ the page content does not change. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that:

  • You do have a canonical link set to the URL of the original category page.
  • It is not crawled or indexed so that the original merchandise page does not appear first when served in a search result.

This is the Google Search Control setting you have to work on:

 


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