How to solve problem of Duplicate Content and reasons that cause duplicity

This problem mainly occurs on larger websites when there are thousands of pages and it is almost impossible to keep track of every page manually. Having duplicate content give rise to many problems and put search engine in dilemma which one to put in the ranking better.

What does duplicate content mean?

As the name defines the all it means having similar content on more than one page but having different URL’s. In Google guidelines it consider each and every page must be unique and there must not be any duplication.

This content is not created intentionally but is result of some technical accidents. It is vital to comprehend what are the things that create duplicity on the website.

Cookies and Sessions

We want to keep a user logged in for a certain period of time. They are basically used in online shopping websites and online booking sites. While we create sessions, there could be number of users on our site and sessions basically are randomly generated numbers. If you use them there are high chances of duplicity on a website. The best method is to store them under cookies.

Give user chance to sort

When you give your users option of sorting to select a product from a wide range of products as they can sort by brand, price, etc. it give rise to duplicity. As sorting is a type of thing which has the same content for every user and just the URL changes but not the content creates duplicity.

Affiliation Code

Affiliate codes are used when other website acts as a referral to you and you reward them as they have brought you a visitor. These code pop ups on every page and results in duplicity.

Same Domain Name

This is the problem that I have faced. The website www.seomashable.com is sometimes regarded different from seomashable.com. As both the URL points to the same page but it a duplicate content as the URL is different and Google consider it as different domains. While choosing a domain name set is as your preferred URL.

How to Identify if your website has duplicate content or not?

We have talked about how these content are created but how we can figure out if your website has duplicate content or not.

1.Log in to Google Webmaster Tools.
2.Go to the Dashboard of your site.
3.Go to the Search Appearance.
4.Click on the HTML improvements.
5.You would see if there are any duplicate content or not.

Another method to find duplicate content on your site is type “site:yoursitename.com”. In this case consider site: www.seomashable.com. Go to the last page of indexing and at the end if there is a message like “Some results have been omitted” then there is duplicity on your website.

How to solve this Duplicity Problem?

There is a saying that prevention is better than cure and if your site has duplicity problem then there are several methods to solve this problem.

301 Redirect

The simplest way is to use 301 redirect. Google have made it in its guidelines that they would transfer the page rank or all the link juice to the page them have made directed to. It could be implemented on Apache servers. You can smartly do it through .htaccess file and you would get rid of the duplicity on your site. If you want to keep copies but do not want them to appear in the search engines than you have to apply another method. You can easily do it through FTP while making a website.

You can Use Canonical web address

There is another method if you want to keep the copies but do not want to get them indexed. Suppose there are two identical pages, page1 and page 2. Page 2 is a copy of page 1. Then you can omit it from search result by specifying the following tag:

link href=”yoursitename.com” rel=”canonical”

When you will implement it, all if the link juice of page 2 would be transferred to page 1 and you do not have to worry. This tag must be inserted in the head section and before the body section. This way Google would be able to trace your official address.

In this way you would be able to define your canonical web address. It solves your two main problems

  • All the link juice will flow to the exact page despite all the replicas Google seek would be transferred to you canonical page.
  • In order to get ranked it will rank only that page which has rel=”canonical” tag.

Canonical tag Limitations

Despite its valuable use this tag has some limitations.

  • It does not work on different domain names. If you are thinking that it would transfer your page rank from one domain to another domain, then it would not work that way. It only works on domain of same pages.

If you have two domains a/page-a and b/page-b and they have same content. You have made canonical tag in a/page-a but not in b.page-b. In this case you would not be able to make it canonical. Both of them would be indexed by Google.

  • This tag will only work on Google and the other search engines have not made it official. They have said that they would make consider it but not give as much authority as given by Google.

I think it is a great method and all you have to remember is to add this tag only once in page you would make canonical.

Robot.txt file or Robot Tags

You can prevent duplicity by adding a meat robot tag in the pages or you can modify the robot.txt file in Webmaster Tools.

My website is www.seomashable.com but Google was indexing seomashable.com as well. To change and save your preferred domain all you have to do is following.

A. Log into webmaster Tools
B. Click on settings appearing second to right from the little down to top right of Windows.
C. Click on site settings
D. Set your preferred Domain

webmaster tools

Targeting Audience in Different Countries

Suppose you have two websites of same name in two countries. They are seomashable.in and seomashable.uk. Both the websites have similar content and there are high chances that seomashable.uk will outperform the seomashable.in in UK and the vice-versa in India. This problem also has a solution.link rel=alternate hreflang=”en-uk”link rel=alternate hreflang=”en-in”We will use the above tag for the people of UK and the other for people in India.

Conclusion

If you have set your preferred domain as www.yoursite than do not point any of your internal linking to then yoursite.com. Do not copy content from other websites as Google will know about it and then you would not get ranked as well as they will penalize you.