Five Easy Solutions to Eliminate Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is identical content found on multiple websites on the Internet. When search engines see the same content in different places, they don’t know which one they are supposed to show in the search results. Search engines like Google want to show the user a variety of search results in order to provide the best user experience possible. As a result, they only choose one website to show in the search results and there is no way to guarantee that they will choose the right one.

If you have duplicate content on your site and Google thinks it is for the intent of manipulating search rankings, you could be severely penalized or even dropped from their index. If either of these things happen to your site, it can make it almost impossible to show up in the search results until the problem is resolved.

Below are a few easy solutions to eliminate duplicate content on your site:

·         301 redirect: A 301 redirect is a simple piece of code that can be put in your site’s .htaccess file. This code forwards all traffic from one site to another site. So, if you created two duplicate sites, and need to get rid of one of them without completely deleting it, all you have to do is put in a piece of code into the site whose traffic you want to forward.
o   For example: Assume the following three sites have identical content.

www.brooklynrains.com              www.rainsbrooklyn.com              www.brookerains.com
 
However, you’ve decided you want to keep the www.brooklynrains.com domain and get rid of the other two sites without losing their URLs. You would need to put 301 redirects in the www.rainsbrooklyn.com and www.brookerains.com sites in order to direct all of that traffic to the www.brooklynrains.com site. So, no matter which of those three URLs you type in, you will still be taken to www.brooklynrains.com.
 
·         Canonical Tags: A canonical tag is another simple piece of code that can be put on the back end of a page or site with duplicate content. Instead of a redirect, canonical tags simply tell the search engine to treat that specific page as though it were a copy of another URL. It then points the search engine to the URL with the original content. This is a good idea if you have two versions of your site, such as a normal version and a text only version. In this case, you would want to put a canonical tag on the text only version to let the search engine know that it is just a copy. Canonical tags are also great to use on e-commerce sites where the same products may be listed in different places on the site.
 
·         Noindex Tag: A noidex tag can be put on the back of your webpage to tell the search engines not to index that particular page.
 
·         Re-write your content: This is not the easiest solution, but if you only have a small amount of duplicate content, it is very do-able. This is the best option if you would rather not put in a 301 redirect. Simply re-writing the content allows you to keep your page, but you’re still getting rid of the problem.
 
·         Combine similar content: If you have two pages that are very similar and you’re worried they could be considered duplicates, combine the two pages into one optimized page.
Being penalized for having duplicate content can cause a serious setback in your SEO and Internet marketing efforts. For more information about what to do with duplicate content, contact us.

By Brooklyn Rains