When we talk about Google penalties under SEO, Content duplicity is a critical issue which demands special attention. Google remains very careful while indexing various web pages, and if you have not paid enough attention towards this field, you must get ready to be penalized for spamming.
If similar type of content has been posted on your website in 3 to 4 pages, then Google would get confused on which page to index for a particular keyword, and this is the reason it penalizes you. Most of the bloggers among us remain careful in selecting a unique topic for every post, but unknowingly or unwillingly, even they can become the victims of content duplicity across different pages.
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What exactly is duplicate content?
According to Google, duplicate content refers to the availability of the same content on two different web pages, on the same website. It might arise due to any of the following reasons:
1. The First reason for content duplicity is a non-optimized website URLs. If you have a same post, which is available on your site under different addresses like:
- http://www.example.com/SEO-category/Post_1_SEO _Optimization
Then you are certainly doing it wrong somewhere.
This much be kept in mind that although you know that these two are entirely same posts, and deal with same content, but still the user can access them via two entirely different URLs.
2. If you are using WordPress, and you have installed some comments plugin on your blog, then the way every post would be divided is something like URL + /comments-page-1/, /comments-page-2, etc. This again would lead to several URLs pointing to the same page.
3. If your site has both the versions available at WWW and one without WWW, then you might end up in some problem. Another common behavior is to use http:// along with https://.
4. Another reason that affects only online shopping portals is the management of session IDs. If you own a shopping portal, then you might be well aware of the fact that you need session ids to deal with different users and fulfill their requests like place an item in the shopping cart. The problem which arises here is that for different users, the URL will mostly remain the same with just one difference which comprises of unique id assigned to each user.
How do I know if I am suffering from duplicate content issues?
If the above explanation has worried you, but you know not if you are suffering from a similar issue, then you can surely check your site for the same by following any of the two methods mentioned below.
1. Google Webmaster Tools Diagnostics
Google Webmaster Tools is certainly a boon for all the bloggers in the market, and it offers innumerable advantages. All you need to do is browse to “Search Appearance”, and select “HTML Improvements”. On the right side, select “Duplicate Title Tags”, and Google would present a list of all duplicate pages for you.
2. Use “site: example.com” in Google search
If you need to check out all your indexed pages on Google for a specific article, simply feed the search bar with following format query:
Site: your_site_name.com intitle “Keyword x”
The following query would provide you a list of all those pages of your site which have been indexed for keyword “x”, allowing you to check your duplicity status.
How do I solve Content Duplicity Problem?
If you are suffering from content duplicity issue, then you can try and implement the following tricks to lift up your boat.
Say no to duplicate content
Most of the causes explained above have simple solutions. Try the following tactics to achieve results:
- If you have session ids in your URL, then disable them from settings.
- Duplicate printer friendly pages are purely unnecessary, and a print style sheet is much better option.
- Disable comment pagination to avoid comments from appearing into different pages.
- Try to order all your parameters in the same order to prevent the problems caused by parameter randomization.
- Use hash tag based campaign tracking instead of parameter based campaign tracking.
- If you have a WWW issue, pick any one URL i.e. either the WWW or non WWW, and redirect it to the other.
- Use Replytocom Controller plugin to get rid of duplicate pages having replytocom in its URL.
Redirect all your duplicate content to a canonical URL
There’s an old saying, “if you cannot convince them, confuse them”. By confuse, I certainly do not mean that you need to “confuse” Google as that might simply lead to good amount of penalizations. If you cannot get rid of all those duplicate URLs, then you always have the option of redirecting them to a single URL. Search engines today have provided the developers with magical “canonical links” to help them address similar kinds of issues.
You will need to add an extra tag in the head area of the duplicate page, which would make it look something like:
This will form a type of 301 redirect by the search engine diverting all the traffic towards the main article.
Link back from the duplicate content to the original content
If you cannot follow either of the first or second tricks due to certain reasons, then the only thing which might help you is linking back to the original article from the duplicate article.
Once Google sees that most of the links from this article are pointing to a specific article, it would realize that this is just a duplicate copy of the original one, and try to neglect it.
Several programmers claim that they are not responsible for any kind of duplicate content arising on their site, because they didn’t do it on their own, neither was it their intention to do so. They would blame the search engine or the web designing platform for the same, but what they forget is that it is they who are going to be at loss finally.
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The duplicate content problem is being experienced by quite a large number of bloggers all around the globe, and there are simple cures available to fix it. Do check out for the same on your blog too, and try to implement the above mentioned tricks to fix the issue if you have any.
We would be glad to hear what kind of performance improvements you received after repairing of the problem.