How To Deal With Duplicate Content

by | Apr 26, 2016 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

While most sites strive to avoid duplicate content, it can be something that happens without you even realizing what’s going on. No matter how good your content creation is, small mistakes in things like your URL links and shareable content structure can create problems that can result in Google penalizing your site. Here are some of the most common issues that can plague even the most vigilant webmasters.

Inconsistent URLs

This happens all the time without site managers realizing it. While you may have come up with a keyword-laden, attractive name for your site, if you didn’t set up a consistent structure for your URL, you may be unknowingly creating different site versions. For instance, the following sites probably look the same to you:

  • hello.com
  • hello.com/
  • http://www.hello.com
  • http://www.hello.com/

While all of these links will go to the same place, the Google bots that search the web for rankings and duplicate content will recognize them as different sites, meaning your content creation will look like it’s been copied in multiple places. Often site owners are unaware of this issue, but you can use the tools in Google Webmasters to check for problems. The Google Search Console and your crawler stats can signal any alerts. If you only have a few pages on your site but the crawlers are reporting several more, you may have inadvertently created duplicate versions of your page.

Another issue that multiple URLs raise comes when other sites backlink to your page. If you have dynamite content and are becoming a popular source for other websites, inconsistent URLs can negate the benefits you should be receiving for your hard work. If other sites are linking to one of your many URLs, you won’t increase in rankings as much because it will spread your backlinks across several variations of your website.

How to Solve Inconsistent Links

The best way to solve this problem is to create a standardized structure for your preferred link. Decide what form you want to use, whether it contains a www or an HTTP, and tell Google that this is your preference. Again, this is done by accessing your Google Webmasters account.

  1. First, you need to adjust the settings. The gear button in the upper right corner of the page contains the Site Settings. Once you open this menu, you’ll see a preferred domain option. The default is generally set to avoid a preferred domain, but there should be options below it that will allow you to choose which structure you prefer.
  2. Next, you need to use a 301 redirect for all other forms of your domain so that they can link back to your preferred page.
  3. It’s important to let everyone on your team know what link format you would like them to use when creating a page. Many hands make light work, but they also make inconsistent links.
  4. You can also use a canonical tag. Once you’ve chosen your preferred link, implement a canonical tag to make sure Google knows which page is preferred and you can instruct your other pages to point back to it.

Syndicated Content

In a world where syndicated content is used on most websites, accidentally creating duplicate content is a common problem. Curata advises that ten percent of your content should be syndicated.

Syndicated Content

While other users sharing your page is great for your rankings and says a lot about your content creation, it can also backfire if those sites who posted it don’t reference back to your page and cause Google to recognize all of it as copied content. Include a note on your page instructing other sites on how to link back to your page and reference your site if they use your work.

When using syndicated content on your own website, be sure to avoid any content scraping. Scraping content from other sites will be recognized as duplicate content by Google and will likely result in your site being penalized. If a site’s duplication is seen as malicious, it may be removed from the search engine results entirely.

Hopefully this information helps you seek and find any duplicate content lurking on your site as well as avoid the problem in the future. By doing so, your content creation will be available to spread across the web and your site will be free to climb the rankings till you reach the top.

Jon Bingham
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