If you’ve been keeping tabs on the SEO space, then you know that duplicate content can be a huge hindrance to ranking higher in search engines.
This is why we prepared this guide on SEO duplicate content to help you understand exactly what it is and how to fix it.
What is SEO Duplicate Content?
SEO duplicate content is an issue that arises when the same content appears on more than one webpage or across multiple domains, and it can manifest in many ways:
- The exact same text, as well as images, appear on more than one webpage.
- The product description on an e-commerce site matches the one on another online store.
- The excerpt of an article is identical across multiple sources.
If this happens, search engines like Google may get confused about which content is original. As a result, they might not properly rank your website and instead attribute the pages with content similar to yours.
What Causes Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content can manifest in two ways:
- On-site: Same content on your site under different URLs. For example, similar content might appear under www.yoursite.com/tech and www.yoursite.com/tech/laptops.
- Off-site: Same content on your site appears on another separate site such as www.site1.com and www.site2.com.
Examples of Duplicate Content and How to Avoid Them
Let’s quickly look at some instances of duplicate content and how to avoid them.
Publishing Similar Content Under Different URLs on Your Site
This may involve intentionally cloning a post or accidentally publishing the same content. Let’s say you have two different web pages that contain similar or identical text. The pages might be www.yoursite.com/article and www.yoursite.com/article2.
Editing the .htaccess File Using an Apache Server
There are several ways to do 301 redirects, although the most common is to edit the site’s .htaccess file. For instance, you can add
Redirect 301 /old-page/ /new-page/ to the file when redirecting a single page.
Redirecting Through a Windows Server
If you’re using ASP.NET you need to add redirects into the web.config file in the site root. Here’s a sample when redirecting a single page.
<httpRedirect enabled="true" destination="http://www.site.com/new-page/" httpResponseStatus="Permanent" />
Using Tracking URLs
When you use tracking links, you are basically adding a parameter in your URL that has no effect on the page content. Let’s say you want to track users coming to your page, www.yoursite.com, using a tracking ID.
This means that the link will change to something like www.yoursite.com/aff_click_id=f4587, even though the content of that page will not change.
Google selects which it thinks is the best URL to represent the cluster of duplicate content. This decreases the chances of your content or article ranking well in the results.
- Set a canonical tag that references the page you need to index. This also guarantees that search engines won’t neglect the parameters.
- Set the URL as canonical by marking the duplicate pages with a rel=”canonical” link tag.
- Use a
<link>tag in your HTM’s head section to indicate that the page is a duplicate of another page.
<link rel="canonical" href="https://samplesite.com/cardigans/purple-cardigans" />
Using Content Syndication
Content syndication is when your content is published on other websites with or without your consent. This can be done through submitting guest blogs or when someone outright copies your content.
As a result, Google or other search engines think it’s only another version of the same content. There are two ways you can fix content syndication.
- Add a rel=canonical tag to fix duplicate content due to syndication. When you do this, you link Google to the content’s original source.
- Use WP RSS Aggregator to share content without hurting your SEO.
Using Comment Pagination
Paginating your comments may duplicate content, causing search engines to consider each page as separate content.
For example, if the main page uses site.com/original-article, the paginated comment would have site.com/original-article/comment-page-1. In effect, the content reflects on multiple comment pages.
The solution is to turn off comment pagination or use the noindex meta tag to tell search engines not to index one of the URLs.
How to Identify Duplicate Content Issues
The good news is it is very easy to identify and fix duplicate content issues.
Using Duplicate Content Checker
You can use premium comparison tools such as Copyscape and Grammarly to check duplicate content on the web to see if your article is original. There are also free tools such as Duplichecker and Small SeoTools to detect plagiarized content.
Using Google Search Console
Search operators may help you find all URLs on your site that contain similar titles and content. If you run a review niche site and have an article named ‘Best gymnastic rings’, you can use Google search operators to find all URLs with the same keywords.
- Just type site:yoursite.com intitle: “best gymnastic rings”
- From the site settings, there are options such as Don’t Set a Preferred Domain, Display URLs as www.example.com, and Display URLs as example.com.
- Set your preferred domain on the Google Search Console if there are multiple domains. For instance, use http://site.com instead of http://www.site.com. In this way, you can identify how Google would crawl various URL parameters.
- You can also add rel=”canonical” links to HTML pages and HTTP headers to let Google determine your preferred version of a URL.
Is Duplicate Content Bad for SEO?
Yes, duplicate content can hurt your SEO since it tells search engines that your content is not original. Therefore, your site is not a reliable source for authoritative information.
Can I Post the Same Article on Two Sites?
Yes, you can post the same article on two sites. However, this will result in duplicate content issues which might cause your sites to be downranked by search engines.
Duplicate content is a common problem faced by many website owners. You can resolve your SEO duplicate issues using the strategies above.
You may also try the WP RSS Aggregator plugin to manage identical content optimally.