Duplicate Content – How to Find and Fix It
What (exactly) is duplicate content? And more importantly – how can you find and fix it? While this is a fairly common issue, it can also be a little confusing.
What is duplicate content?
Content that appears on the internet in more than one place is called duplicate content. The “one place” is defined as a location with a particular website address (URL). You have duplicate content if the same content appears at more than one web address. Even if the content isn’t identical, it may still be considered duplicates of one another.
Why does duplicate content matter?
Duplicate content can impact your search engine rankings. Why? Because when there are numerous pieces of similar content in more than one location on the internet, it’s hard for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a search query.
Search engines and crawlers can’t see what human visitors see when comparing two pages on your website because they look at the page’s source code. If that code is too similar, the crawler may think it’s looking at versions of the same page.
The confusion between pieces of content can cause ranking issues because search engines can’t figure out which page they should rank or rank the wrong page. Duplicate content creates problems for both search engines and site owners. And the result is a piece of content doesn’t obtain the search visibility it would otherwise.
How do you fix duplicate content issues?
Now that we’ve briefly examined what duplicate content is and why it matters – let’s look at how to fix it. When the content on a site is found at multiple URLs, it needs to be canonicalized for search engines. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
One way to resolve duplicate content is to set up a 301 redirect from the “duplicate” page to the original content page. This allows you to redirect older versions of pages on your site to newer, updated versions. Now the duplicate content stops competing with each other and creates a stronger relevancy and popularity signal – which helps the “correct” page rank better.
Another option is to use the rel=canonicals on your page. One way to understand this is to imagine you’re selling pies at a bake sale, and you have two kinds of pies – apple and chocolate. You think your chocolate pie is the best. So, even though you suggest the chocolate pie, people can still choose to buy the apple pie.
How does this relate to rel=canonicals? You want human visitors to have options on your site, but you use the canonical tag to direct crawlers to the page that is more relevant to rank.
Another helpful option is to mark pages as meta noindex. To understand this, imagine you have two editions of a book. Since the second edition is the newest and most relevant, that’s the one you want to read and quote. But you still want to keep and access the other edition.
Meta noindex tags let the crawler know that even though they can still crawl the duplicate page, they shouldn’t include it in their index. Using meta noindex is a good solution for duplicate content issues connected to pagination.
What if you have two pages that truly aren’t duplicates of each other? They should be treated as separate pieces of content because they’re about different topics. In this case, you may want to add more content to these pages, so they stand out from each other – and it’s less confusing to the crawler.
Let Impact Group Marketing find and fix your duplicate content!
Duplicate content happens for many different reasons – and it’s almost always unintentional. But the duplication can affect search rankings, reduce user engagement, and ultimately damage conversions. It takes time and effort to find, evaluate, and fix the duplicated content. And it often requires repairing technical issues or adjusting the site architecture. It’s definitely worth the effort, though!
If you have any questions about finding and fixing the duplicated content that may exist on your website, contact us today. Our experienced team would love to help you improve your search engine rankings and conversions.