Duplicate content has become a major concern for every website owner since the arrival of Google Panda. What was once a minor problem has evolved into something that can adversely affect an entire site. Document content may even cause non-duplicate pages to lose ranking power or be removed from the search engine indexes.
Fortunately, there are a number of options that one can use to deal with duplicate content issues. Don’t panic if you find that duplicates are affecting your rankings or traffic. One can turn a potentially disastrous situation into opportunities to do something beneficial for your website. Let us look at some of the options that one can use to remedy problems with having pages that are identical with others on the web. These are some of the best SEO practices that are widely used to solve the menace of duplicates.
The 301 redirect solution is one of the most common ways to solve duplicate related issues. So how can this option help you? Well, this method involves redirecting a page or pages with identical content to the one with the original content. This option informs human visitors and bots that the page has been permanently transferred to a new location. It also passes on most of the inbound link authority and can create a stronger relevancy and popularity signal because the duplicate or duplicates will no longer compete with the original. Consider this option if you want to take advantage of a duplicate with decent traffic or inbound links.
One may also deal with this common SEO problem by using the “Meta Robots” tag on pages that you don’t want to be included in a search engine’s index. For example, using the “noindex, nofollow” directive instructs search engine bots that the links on the page should not be followed and the page should not be excluded from the index. You can also use “noindex, follow” if one wants the bot to crawl the links on the specified page without adding it to a search engine’s index. A site suffering from the ill effects of pagination can find this an effective solution.
Another way of solving problem with duplicates is employing the “Rel-canonical” or the “Canonical tag” to tell search engines that a specific page should be considered as copy of another URL. This tag:
is placed in the page header and causes the search engine not to index the additional, non-canonical URL. This method can be useful as the links and content metrics from the duplicates can be credited to the canonical URL.
Google Webmaster Tools is also quite helpful for sites that are suffering from duplicate content ailments. This tool can help one to block the indexation of pages by specifying the URL parameters that you want Google to ignore.
Click on “Site Configuration” > “URL parameters” to show a list of URL parameters that Google has detected.
This section also enables a webmaster to alter the settings on how those parameters should be crawled. However, this method can only be applied to Google and will not be reflected on other search engines.
If you want to find duplicate content on a site, then one can also use Google Webmaster Tools.
1. Go to Diagnostics and click HTML Suggestions and a table will appear.
2. Click on Duplicate meta descriptions and Duplicate title tags to obtain a list of the duplicates and hints on the trouble-spots for your website.
If you want to deal with duplicates on Bing, then one may use BWC (Bing Webmaster Center)tools to straighten out the problems. For example, you can click the Index tab and select an option called URL Normalization to get a list of auto-detected parameters. One can then add or modify these parameters to suit your needs.
BWC also offers a tool for blocking a page, a directory or even an entire website.
1. Navigate to the Index tab and click Block URLs.
2. Choose Block URL and Cache to get a pop-up that allows one to block a specific page or a directory.
These are only some of the ways that one can find solutions to the threat of duplicate content. Google and other search engines are constantly changing the way they treat duplicates so continue to research to see if there are new solutions. Visit SEO sites and learn from the experts. See how they tackle this problem and dont hesitate to ask questions or clarifications. Hopefully, one can sort out your site’s problems with duplicates and gain an increase in traffic and a rise in rankings.
Merben, link builder from Agentsofvalue.com, tackles duplicate content, one of the major issue in post-Google Panda SEO.