Duplicate content refers to content that appears more than one web source. That place is known as the URL. In short, if the content appears in more than one website, that is considered to be duplicate.
It can hinder your rankings and other SEO parameters of your website.
Duplicate Content Really Matters?
Duplicate content for search engines means:
- Search engines cannot understand which version of the content needs to be given priority for ranking.
- Search Engines also cannot understand which version of the content the links should pass to.
In short, search engines find it difficult to prioritize the right content for ranking, and hence there will be total mess up of the rankings of your website if there is an issue of duplicate content.
What the webmasters suffer due to duplicate content is:
- Dilution in the search results as the content for ranking is not prioritized
How Does Duplicate Content Issues Pop Up?
In maximum cases, the duplicate content issues are not intentionally created by the webmasters. Approx 30% of the web contents are copied or duplicate as per the Google survey.
Some common ways, how the content might get duplicated are:
Variations in URL
The analytics code of the website or the URL parameters can lead to duplicate content issues.
For example, if you have created content for iPhone red, and it is something like iphone.com/32GB/red/ and another URL on iphone.com/32GB/blue/, this creates a duplicate variation of the URL.
HTTP / HTTPS / WWW and non-www
If your website has a separate version of URLs like with and without www and also HTTP and https, this can create confusion for the Google crawler to rank the real version of your web content.
In case, if both the versions (www and non-www) are available for indexing in the search engine, it can cause a duplicate content issue as well. So, make sure to inform the search engine crawlers about the version of the website which you would like to index. This can be done in the webmaster tools of the Google and Bing search engines.
Copied or Scraped Content
Product information pages are also considered under the duplicate content issues. People who scrape your product content and republish on their blogs can also cause duplicate content issues.
For example, if the product you sell on your e-commerce store is being sold by other sellers in the industry, it can cause a problem in terms of content, as all of them have same product descriptions and also the features.
So, try to constantly keep an eye on the duplicate sources of your content on the web. In case, if you find someone is copying your content, make sure to inform the Google search console of the same.
How to fix duplicate issues?
Fixing duplicate content is one of the best ways to regain your rankings in the Google search engine.
Here is how you can fix the duplicate content issues:
If you find any duplicate content on the website, you can try redirecting (301) the duplicate content to the original URL. You can do this by installing plugins that help you with the redirection on your website.
Apply Canonical Tag
In case, if you have multiple versions of a single page, you can apply the canonical tag in the page to inform Google search engines about which particular URL is a priority for ranking.
Apply No-index in Meta Robots
Make sure to set a no-index tag in the Meta Robots that can help you to de-index the unwanted pages from the search engines.
Also, this helps in preventing duplicate content generation in the search engines.
If you find any website is copying your content, ask them to link back to your content so that Google finds it authentic. Content syndication is one of the major factors to keep in mind while performing duplicate content fixes.
Add a self-referential rel=canonical tag to your pages so that whichever websites copy the content from your website they will automatically link it back to your webpage.
These are some of the common practices which help in fixing the duplicate content issues on your website. Apart from all the above-mentioned method, make sure to constantly check your Google search console, if there are any duplicate content issues popping up. Alternatively, you can also set up Google alerts which help you understand who is copying the content from your website.
You can also outsource this task to anyone who provides Local SEO Packages at low cost.