6th Sep 2018

Duplicate Content: The Key Issues You Need To Fix & How 

Duplicate content is one of the biggest issues that many website and business owners struggle with at one time in their life. If there’s two or more pages hosting the same content, be it text or even an entire page being available through multiple URLs, this is an example of duplicate content. 

There are a number of reasons why duplicate content can arise, from a poorly built website to spam websites that copy content from another in order to fill their pages. 

Duplicate content can pose a problem for website owners in that is can impact search engine rankings. Given that Google’s main objective is to give search users quality results, if they serve multiple pages with the same content they aren’t offering valuable, varied content and a less optimised experience. For this reason, Google has made it very clear that they will penalise websites that include duplicate content. 

How Do I Know If I Have Duplicate Content?

Content duplication can occur for a number of reasons, these are; 

  1. If you have two domains or more
  2. You’ve one or more subdomains (for example a desktop site and a mobile site)
  3. Similar content for different regional websites
  4. Similar content for different international websites and audiences
  5. Identical or closely similar content on different pages of your site 
  6. Duplicate meta titles and descriptions
  7. Different URLs that link to the same page 
  8. Duplicate content across different domains 

How Can I Identify Duplicate Content?

The most simple way to identify if your website contains duplicate content is to simply copy and paste your content into Google and search to see if it shows up on any other website or web page, however, this isn’t always possible, especially with larger pieces of content. Here are a few other ways you can spot duplicate content: 

1. Google Search Console
Duplicate content isn’t limited to the content that is present on a website or page, but also the content that is seen in search snippets, such as meta titles and meta descriptions. Having duplicate content of this kind can be detected by the Google Search Console, under Optimisation and then HTML Improvements.

2. “Site:” Search Operator
You can enter your site in Google search using the site: search operator, along with your content from the web page. If you do this and see a message from Google talking about omitted results this could be an indication that your website has duplicate content included on the page or within tags and titles.

3. External Tools
There are a number of external tools you can use to find duplicate content including Screaming Frog, SEMrush and Copyscape, all of which offer the tools to identify duplicate copy, tags and titles. 

How Can I Get Rid Of Duplicate Content?

Removing duplicate content from your website can be challenging, however, it is possible and the effort means that your website will be completely optimised for search engines. Here’s how you can manage duplicate content on your own website: 

1. Rel=“canonical”
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) or have an ecommerce shopping website it can be easy to end up with multiple domains that point to the same content. In order to combat this you need to tell search engines where they can find the original content, which can be done using the Rel=“canonical” tag. This page allows search engines to know that the current page is a copy and informs them of where to find the original content.

2. 301 Redirects
You can use redirects on duplicate pages that have been generated automatically and aren’t produced for audiences to see. 301 Redirects points search bots and search users to the page that is preferred only. If you have duplicate content on multiple websites, but these websites have different domains you can redirect these pages to one URL with a 301 redirect.

3. Meta Robots Tag
Meta robots with nofollow and no index attributes can be used if you need to keep a duplicate page from being indexed by a search engine. This is done by adding the code <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> to duplicate pages. You can also exclude pages from the search engine indexes by disallowing the links with special characters in the robots.txt file

On the off chance, you need to get content removed from another website you can do this by sending an email or message to the website owner asking for credit and a link to your original content.

On a technical level, removing duplicate content can be tricky, which is why it’s important that you have an expert check over your site, monitoring and removing any duplicate content that could be damaging your website rankings.

If you’re worried about your website featuring duplicate content or need additional help removing duplicate content from your website, feel free to get in touch with our team today, we’ll get you back on track. 

Article By
Sarah Seymour,
Published: 6th September, 2018
Categories: SEO Marketing

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