Content that appears on the Internet in more than one location is called a duplicate. This means that if the same content appears at more than one unique website address (URL), you have got duplicate content. Although having duplicate content on one’s site is not technically a penalty, it can impact search engine rankings. This happens because search engines will have a hard time deciding which version is more relevant to a particular search query. In this post, you will learn more about the common causes of duplicate content and various strategies to tackle the problem.
Common Causes of Duplicate Content
- Scraped or copied content
Content can be anything from product information pages to editorial content to blog posts. Oftentimes, scrapers (websites that steal your content) republishing your content on their own sites are a common source of duplicate content. For e-commerce sites, it is common for many websites to sell the same products. Business owners in this field typically copy and paste identical items’ manufacturer’s descriptions on their websites. That’s why similar content winds up in multiple URLs across the Internet.
- WWW, non-WWW, HTTP, and HTTPS pages
Some website owners may have identical websites with different URL prefixes. For example,
If either pair of websites are live at the same time (with the same content), you have effectively created duplicates of the web pages.
Strategies to Resolve Duplicate Content Problems
- 301 redirects
Today, one of the best ways to tackle duplicate content is to set up 301 redirects. If a visitor clicks on a link that leads to the duplicate page, he or she will be automatically redirected to the original content page. When multiple web pages with the potential to rank well are consolidated into a single page, one prevents them from competing with one another. This change helps create enhance relevancy and popularity signal. All these will positively impact the original content page so that it ranks well.
- Meta Noindex,Follow tags
When utilized with Noindex,Follow values, meta robots come in handy when tackling duplicate content problems. Also known as Meta Noindex,Follow, website owners can add this meta robots tag to the HTML head of each individual page that need to be excluded from a search engine’s index.
- Using the rel=”canonical” attribute
The rel=canonical attribute is another viable solution for resolving duplicate content issues. The attribute is designed to inform search engines that a certain web page should be treated as though it was a copy of a specified URL. This means that all of the ranking metrics, content metrics, and links that search engines apply to the duplicate page should be credited to the original URL instead.
- Implement consistent link structure
Your website’s internal linking structure should be consistent. For example, if your webmaster or team determines that the canonical version of a domain is www.yourrealwebsite.com/, then all internal links should go to http://www.yourrealwebsite.com/ rather than http://yourrealwebsite.com/. Notice that the latter is missing the “www.”
While many business owners do not intentionally create duplicate content, it does not mean that duplicates aren’t out there. That’s why you should utilize a plagiarism checker before publishing your content.