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I am a search marketing geek. Work as APM for one of the leading companies in UK. Interested in socializing and helping others.

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October 24, 2009

The quick reference guide to deal with duplicate content on your websites

This article highlights the following in serial order

Duplicate Content Table
  • Definition
  • Duplicate Content Issue
  • What is not considered as duplicate?
  • How to address duplicate content issue?
  • Google's Parameter Handling tool
  • Reference Links

Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a substantial block(s) of content within or across the domain that completely matches the other content or are appreciably similar.

Duplicate Content Issue
Duplicate content has always been a major issue in the optimization of the website. Search engine spiders always consider fresh content and as such provides the most relevant result for the search query.

If there are duplicate articles within the website, then it becomes difficult for the search engines to decide which is the actual article that needs to be displayed for the search query. It makes it difficult for the search engine spiders to crawl and index the content. Moreover, the page rank juice towards the actual article gets shared across the articles, which currently Google is not considering as duplicate.As such identifying the duplicate content and then listing/informing the search engine spider about the preferred article is the most important task.

What is not considered as duplicate in Google?
Google does not considers one article published in different languages as duplicate article.

How to address duplicate content issue?
There are the following steps to be considered for addressing the duplicate content on the website,

  • Determining the preferred version of the URL - Before searching for the duplicate content on your website's content, you need to be sure of the preferred URL structure for your website. It's completely up to you to decide which version you want to choose for your website. There is nothing like 'www' has more priority and 'non-www' less or vice-versa.

  • Consistency among URL structure - Once the preferred URL structure is determined (www or non-www), check out for the consistency of the URL and update wherever required. Be sure to use only one version for the website.

  • Identification of the duplicate content -Now comes the identification of the duplicate content on your website. In order to check the duplicate content in your website, you just need to perform the site:query in Google, by taking a small text snippet from your webpage. If there is duplicate content in your website, then you can see the multiple results for the same content

  • Using 301 permanent redirects - If at all possible then you can directly implement a 301 permanent redirect from the duplicate URLs to the main URL. This helps the search engines as well as users to to find your preferred URL for the article

  • Implementing the rel="canonical" - The rel="canonical" tag is of utmost value. It can be implemented where and all it's not possible to use a 301 permanent redirect, as it gives a better understanding of the preferred URL structure for the website. The tag is well supported by Yahoo and Bing.

  • Making use of Google's URL parameter handling tool - Google has recently launched the URL parameter handling tool in the webmaster tools, which allows you to view which parameters Google believes should be ignored or not at crawl time, and to overwrite suggestions if necessary.

Reference Links