SEO Best Practices to Avoid Duplicate Content

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is defined as content that’s an exact copy of content found elsewhere. However, the term duplicate content can also mean almost identical content (such as just swapping a product, name, or location name only).

Simply swapping a couple of words out won’t necessarily save a page from being deemed as duplicated content. Responding to that, your organic search performance can see a negative effect.

Duplicate content also refers to content that’s equivalent across multiple webpages on your site or across two or more separate sites. However, there are many methods to stop or minimize the impact of duplicate content which will be handled by technical fixes.

In this guide, I’ll look deeper into the causes of duplicate content, the simplest ways to avoid it, and the way to make sure competitors can’t copy your content and claim that they’re the first creator.

The Impact of Duplicate Content

Pages created with duplicate content may result in several ramifications in Google Search results and, occasionally, even penalties. commonest duplicate content issues include:

-The wrong version of pages showing in SERPs 

-Key pages unexpectedly not performing well in SERPs or experiencing indexing problems

-A decrease or fluctuations in core site metrics (traffic, rank positions, or E-A-T criteria)

-Other unexpected actions by search engines as a result of confusing prioritization signals

Although nobody is certain which elements of content are going to be prioritized and deprioritized by Google, the program giant has always advised webmasters and content creators to ‘make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.’ 

With this in mind, the start line for any webmaster or SEO should be to make unique content that brings unique value to users. However, this is often not always easy or maybe possible. Factors like templating content, search functionality, UTM tags, sharing of data, or syndicating content are often fraught with the danger of duplication.

Ensuring that your own site doesn’t run the danger of duplication of content entails a mixture of a transparent architecture, regular maintenance, and technical understanding to combat the creation of duplicate content the maximum amount as possible.

Methods to stop Duplicate Content

There are many various methods and methods to stop the creation of duplicate content on your own site and to stop other sites from taking advantage of copying your content:

-Taxonomy

-Canonical Tags

-Meta Tagging

-Parameter Handling

-Duplicate URLs

-Redirects

Taxonomy

As a start line, it’s good to have a general check on your site’s taxonomy. Whether you’ve got a replacement, existing, or a revised document, mapping out the pages from a crawl and assigning a singular H1 and focus keyword may be a great start. Organizing your content during a topic cluster can assist you to develop a thoughtful strategy that limits duplication.

Canonical Tags

Possibly the most important element in combating duplication of content on your own site or across multiple sites are Canonical Tags. 

The rel=canonical element maybe a snippet of HTML code that creates it clear to Google that the publisher owns a bit of content even when the content is often found elsewhere. These tags denote to Google which version of a page is the ‘main version.’

The canonical tag is often used for print vs the web versions of content, mobile and desktop page versions, or multiple places, like location targeting pages. It is often used for the other instances where duplicate pages exist that stem from the most version page, too. 

There are two sorts of canonical tags, people who point to a page and people that time faraway from a page. people who point to a different page tell search engines that another version of the page is that the ‘master version.’

The other is people who recognize themselves because the master version, also referred to as self-referencing canonical tags. Referencing canonicals are an important part of recognizing and eliminating duplicate content, and self-referencing canonicals are a matter of excellent practice.

Meta Tagging

Another useful technical item to check out for when analyzing the danger of duplicate content on your site are Meta robots and therefore the signals you’re currently sending to search engines from your pages. 

Meta robots tags are useful if you would like to exclude a particular page, or pages, from being indexed by Google and would like them to not show in search results.

If you make use of the robot tag by adding the ‘no index’ meta robots tag to the HTML code of the page, you effectively tell Google you don’t want the page to be shown on SERPs. this is often the well-liked method to Robots.txt blocking, as this system allows for more granular blocking of a specific page or file, whereas Robots.txt is most frequently a bigger scale undertaking.

Although this instruction is often given for several reasons, Google will understand this directive and will exclude the duplicate pages from SERPs

Parameter Handling

URL Parameters indicate the way to crawl sites effectively and efficiently to search at engines. Parameters sometimes do cause duplication of content as their usage creates copies of a page. for instance, if there have been several different product pages of an equivalent product, it might be deemed duplicate content by Google.

However, parameter handling facilitates simpler and efficient crawling of web sites. The benefit of search engines is proven, and their resolution to avoid creating duplicate content is straightforward. Particularly for larger sites and sites with integrated search functionality, it’s important to use parameter handling through Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

By indicating parameterized pages within the respective tool and signaling to Google, it is often clear to the program that these pages shouldn’t be crawled and what, if any, additional action to require. 

Duplicate URLs

Several structural URL elements can cause duplication issues on an internet site. Many of those are caused due to the way search engines perceive URLs. If there are not any other directives or instructions, a special URL will always mean a special page. 

Not getting a clear or unintentional wrong signaling can cause a decrease or fluctuations in core site metrics (traffic, rank positions, or E-A-T criteria) if not addressed. As we’ve already covered, URL Parameters caused by search functionality, tracking codes, and other third-party elements can cause multiple versions of a page to be created. 

The most common ways in which duplicate versions of URLs can occur include: HTTP and HTTPS versions of pages, www. and non-www., and pages with trailing slashes and people without.

In the case of www. vs. non-www and trailing slash vs. non-trailing slashes, you would like to spot the version most ordinarily used on your site and stick with this version on all pages to avoid the danger of duplication. Furthermore, redirects should be found out to direct to the version of the page that ought to be indexed and take away the danger of duplication, e.g., mysite.com > www.mysite.com.

On the opposite hand, HTTP URLs represent a security issue because the HTTPS version of the page would use encryption (SSL), making the page secure.

Redirects

Redirects are very useful for eliminating duplicate content. Pages duplicated from another are often redirected and fed back to the most version of the page. 

Where there are pages on your site with high volumes of traffic or link value that are duplicated from another page, redirects could also be a viable choice to address the matter. 

When using redirects to get rid of duplicate content, there are two important things to remember: always redirect to the higher-performing page to limit the impact on your site’s performance and, if possible, use 301 redirects. If you would like more information on which redirects to implement, inspect our guide to 301 redirects.

What If My Content Has Been Copied without my consent?

What can you do if your content has been copied and you have not used a canonical tag to suggest that your content is that of the original?

-Use Search Console to spot how regularly your site is being indexed.

-Contact the webmaster liable for the location that has copied your content and invite accreditation or removal.

-Use self-referencing canonical tags on all new content created to make sure that your content is recognized because the ‘true source’ of the knowledge .

Duplicate Content Review

Avoiding duplicate content starts that specialize in creating unique quality content for your site; however, the practices to avoid the danger of others copying you’ll be more complex. The safest thanks to avoid duplicate content issues is to think twice about site structure and focus your users and their journeys onsite. When content duplication occurs thanks to technical factors, the tactics covered should alleviate the danger to your site.

When considering the risks of duplicate content, it’s important to send the proper signals to Google to mark your content because of the original source. this is often true especially if your content is syndicated otherwise you have found your content has been replicated by other sources previously. 

Depending on how the duplication has occurred, you’ll employ one or many tactics to determine content as having an ingenious source and recognizing other versions as duplicates.

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2 thoughts on “SEO Best Practices to Avoid Duplicate Content

  1. bConnected says:

    Great resource, thankyou for this.

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