First of all, I should say that there is no duplicate content penalty. You will not receive any message from Search Console that you have duplicate content. But having duplicate content creates problems for your website and SEO.
I will give you an example: when you are shown completely identical content, do you notice which content was written first and which is original?
When all the contents are the same, there is no difference between the original and its copy.
This problem exists for Google as well. Since Google is very strict with copyright law and wants to give original credit to the content owner, finding original content is vital.
This is where duplicate content becomes a problem.
In some cases, Google gives a higher score to copied content, in which case all your efforts to write good content will be wasted. The article “An Ultimate Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)” introduces duplicate content. Continuing this article on the smart strategy blog, we will dive deep into what duplicate content is, what examples are, and how to fix it. Keep us.
What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content is the same content that is published on multiple websites. In many cases, these contents are created due to SEO technical problems on your website, which we will explain below.
What are the types of duplicate content?
In general, duplicate content is categorized into two parts:
- Internal duplicate content means the same content is available at different addresses from the same website.
- Foreign duplicate content means that the same content is seen in various domains.
The effect of duplicate content for SEO
Duplicate content is critical from the point of view of SEO, search engines, and website owners.
Duplicate content for SEO
As we said, when faced with duplicate content, Google cannot recognize the original content. Therefore, it confuses Google and hinders its ability to choose the correct URL to display in search results. In such a situation, the page with the original content may not show in search results.
Duplicate content for SEO From the point of view of search engines
Duplicate content causes three fundamental problems for search engines:
They need to know which copy of the content to include in their primary index.
They need to figure out whether to allocate content credit to one address or share it among all.
They need to know which URL to display in the SERP (Search Results Page).
Duplicate content for SEO from the point of view of website owners
When there is duplicate content on the site, the site owners will be affected by the drop in the site’s rank. This problem is divided into two parts:
- Search engines rarely display multiple versions of the same content in SERP. Therefore are forced to choose one of several versions of the content on the site. This mode reduces the display of any duplicate content in the search results.
- Other sites also have to link to several addresses of the same content, so the validity of backlinks decreases. Because backlinks are one of the page ranking factors, this issue harms the number of times content is displayed in search results.
Overall result: Your site’s content will show up poorly in the results, and competitors who do not have duplicate content will overtake you.
How does the duplicate content problem arise?
On average, 29% of the web is duplicate content. In many cases, business owners do not intentionally create duplicate content, but the technical issues of the site cause duplicate content.
In the following, we take a look at the factors that create duplicate content that often arise unintentionally:
1. URL parameters
Parameters in URL pages are one of the main factors in creating duplicate content: the parameters themselves and the sequence of their creation in the URL cause this problem.
As you can see in the example above, the parameter in the two URLs above has created duplicate pages in both mobile and web versions. While the website owner did not intentionally commit this error, it was just a technical error.
2. HTTP and HTTPS versions, the version with www and without www or the version with and without trailing slash
If your site has two versions with www and without www, for example, www.smartstrategy.ca and smartstrategy.ca, and there is the same content in both versions, you have created duplicate content. This issue also applies to the HTTP and HTTPS versions of the site. If both site versions are running and viewed, they are examples of duplicate content.
Also, duplicate content has been created if a copy of the content is available simultaneously with and without the trailing slash in the URL.
3. Copied content
As you know, the information on the product page is part of the site’s content. Copycats may steal your posts as they are published and republish them on their site. Also, many online stores use the information provided by the manufacturer in product descriptions. These descriptions are probably used by other sites as well. Both of these situations are considered duplicate content.
How to solve the problem of duplicate content?
Solving the problem of duplicate content starts with the idea of which URLs are correct. First, search engines must understand which address is valid when content is presented at multiple addresses. There are three ways to do this: using a 301 redirect to the correct URL, the rel=canonical tag, or the Google parameters control section in the Google Search Console tool.
In many cases, the best way is to redirect duplicate pages to the main page. When we redirect several similar pages to one page, the page’s value increases in competition with other pages on other sites. As a result, the page rank in search results is improved.
Another way to deal with duplicate content is to use the rel=canonical tag on duplicate pages. This tag tells search engines that these pages are copies of the main page and that credit should be transferred to the main page.
The rel=canonical tag is a part of the HTML code in the <head> of the website as follows:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://radzad.com/” />
The rel=canonical tag should be added to the head part of the HTML code of all duplicate pages, and the original URL should also be specified. Again, be sure to put the quotations. This tag, like the 301 redirects, transfers almost all the page credit to the main page, and because it is executed at the page level (not at the server level), it needs less time to be effective.
A meta tag that is very efficient and can help deal with duplicate pages is the Robots meta tag with the value “noindex, follow.” By placing this tag in the <head> section of duplicate pages, search engines can prevent them from being indexed.
The general format of this meta tag is as follows:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”>
This meta tag allows search engines to monitor links within duplicate pages but not index them. It is essential to give Google access to monitor duplicate pages, even if you tell Google not to index them. Google has implicitly stated that they do not want to limit their bots to crawling pages, even if they are duplicates. Search engines are interested in seeing anything on the site. This ability allows them to make the right decisions in ambiguous conditions.
Preferred domain and parameter control in Google Search Console
Google Search Console allows site owners to choose the version with or without www for monitoring and indexing by Google robots. You can also specify the parameters that don’t need to be monitored in the relevant section.
Depending on the URL structure of your site and the factors that create duplicate content, using the preferred URL selection and parameter control solutions can be very effective.
The main problem in using parameter control as the only solution to the problem of duplicate content is that this system is only used in Google, and each of the rules defined in it is not seen by other search engines such as Bing. For this reason, you should go to the webmaster of each search engine and make settings related to parameter control.
Other solutions to deal with the problem of duplicate content
- When using internal links on the site, use a fixed format. For example, if the selected version of your site is without www, write all internal links without www and avoid using versions with www.
- When using site links on other sites, make sure that the original version of the links is used and avoid using other duplicate links.
- To create an extra layer of security for your content when copycats steal it, use the canonical tag on the homepage. This will neutralize the effect of copying the content by its plagiarists. Although not all copiers use code pages to duplicate content, many still use this technique. Using the canonical tag will neutralize the effect of content copying by those who use the page code.
In this article on smart strategy, we dive deep into different sides of duplicate content.
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