A cheat sheet to deal with content duplication proposed by the best SEO Agency in Dubai.
This blog sheds light on different ways through which content duplication can occur intentionally or unintentionally. It also puts forth some strategies used by SEO Agencies to deal with the issue of content duplication.
Table Of Contents
- Why does content duplication occur?
- Can Duplication occur due to URL variations?
- Can two versions of the same website cause content duplication?
- What is scraped or copied content?
- Is content duplication really a negative ranking factor?
- How does Google Algorithm deal with the duplicated content?
- What are the problems caused due to duplicate content?
- How to fix duplicate content issues?
- How to use 301 redirect to deal with duplication?
- What is Rel= “canonical”?
If the content or a portion of the content is present on the internet in more than one place, it is regarded as duplicate content. "place" means a unique web address or URL. So, we can call a content “duplicate content” if it is present on at least two or more web pages.
The duplicate content can either be the exact copy of the original content or can be similar to it and in this case, referred to as near-duplicates. Content duplication is not always planned or intentional. It is an unavoidable phenomenon.
It is categorized as internal and external duplicate content. When a duplicate is originated from one domain through multiple internal URLs. This is when it’s called internal duplicate content. This occurs on the same website hence the name ‘internal’.
Another type is external duplicate content. Also referred to as cross-domain duplicate, takes place when two or multiple domains have the same page copy indexed through search engines. It can either bean exact-duplicate or a near-duplicate of the original content. The same description applies to the internal duplicate content category too.
How does content duplication occur?
In today's world where the competition is so much that every other person is on the internet trying to showcase his creative skills, it is not unlikely for content duplication to occur. Most people don’t do it intentionally however, around 29% of content on the internet is duplicated.
One might ask if nobody is intentionally copying anybody's content then how is there such a large percentage of duplicated content present on the internet? Well, the next portion of the blog is going to enlighten you on different ways through which content duplication can occur unintentionally.
Content duplication issues can occur due to different URL parameters among which click tracking and analytics code are the highlighted ones. Not only that the parameters can cause content duplication but the order in which these parameters appear in a URL is also a major factor in content duplication.
In addition to the above scenarios, content duplication can also occur through different session IDs. So, what happens is that when a visitor visits a website, he is assigned a different session ID every single time that gets stored in its URL.
Printer-friendly versions of content can also be a reason to content duplication as the multiple versions of pages get indexed when switched to printer mode.
The best way to avoid this type of content duplication is by avoiding the URL parameters altogether or by avoiding the alternate versions of URLs because the information contained in these URLs is easily passed through scripts ultimately causing content duplication.
HTTP Vs HTTPS / www Vs non-www pages
You might have noticed that sometimes your website has separate versions on the internet. One with 'www' and one without it or sometimes you might have noticed that the same website with the exact content exists under two different formats i.e. HTTP and HTTPS.
If you have experienced any of the two phenomena explained above, you can safely say that a duplicate to your website exists. Now you might think how does it affect me or my website? Well, if both the versions of your websites are live and visible to search engines, they may cause ranking issues or other indexing activities.
Scraped or copied content
Reading this heading, the first thought that would’ve crossed your mind was probably that it is intentional copying of blog posts or editorial content. Content copying is not always intentional. Yes, when a scraper republishes your content on their own site, it will be intentional content duplication.
However, in eCommerce for example, when different sites are selling the same item, obviously their content description will definitely resemble and, in some cases, it might be the exact duplicate of each other but this type of content is neither intentional nor avoidable.
Moreover, when different sites are selling the same product under the manufacturer's description, content duplication is bound to occur. But this type of content duplication is harmless and will not affect your ranking in any way, under any circumstances.
These are some of the ways through which content duplication can occur but most of these scenarios can be avoided through a little attention and consideration. Many a time, the creators of these websites are naïve and are unaware of the dos and don'ts of online marketing. There is nothing to worry about.
There are several SEO companies in Dubai established with the sole purpose of guiding newcomers like you to avoid making mistakes and to level up your marketing strategy, ultimately leading to a better ranking of your website.
Is content duplication a negative ranking factor?
This question has been in the spotlight for ages now. Experts have been debating on this topic whether content duplication negatively affects your ranking or not. Many theories have been brought to light by different experts, some of them proposed that it is harmless and should not be treated like a problem where others declared it a major negative ranking factor and also proposed different ways through which this issue could be resolved.
This fight was somewhat put to rest by Google’s John Mueller. He clarified that it is a misconception and that duplicated content does not affect your rankings in any way and is in no way a negative ranking factor. He said that it is normal for sites to have duplicated content and Google algorithms are built to make their way around it.
How does Google Algorithm deal with the duplicated content?
The above portion of the content suggests that duplicated content does not have a negative ranking associated with it. But one might ask, how does Google deal with the duplicated content?
It is theorized and advocated that if a piece of content is duplicated, Google will rank only one of them leaving all the other copies out of the ranking. So, the site that published the content in the first place is safer than the rest in this case.
Problems caused due to duplicate content
Duplicate content might not always affect the ranking, yes, but nobody said it does not cause problems. It causes a number of problems for the site owners as well as the search engines. Some of these problems are stated below:
For search engines
Due to content duplication, the search engines are faced with three major problems:
- It confuses as to which versions are supposed to be included in their indices.
- It causes confusion regarding the fact whether the link metrics are to be directed to one page or are meant to be kept separated between different versions.
- Unsure about which versions are supposed to be ranked for query results.
For site owners
Some of the problems faced by the site owners due to duplicated content are:
- The pressure of providing quality content because when you have multiple live versions of the same content, the one with the best results and quality is chosen among all the available duplicates. It dilutes the visibility of all the other duplicates.
- Divided backlinks. Not only does it dilute the visibility, but it also divides all the quality backlinks to all the duplicates sites. It can indirectly affect the traffic on your website.
How can we fix duplicate content issues?
The first step to solving this problem is choosing the correct age among all the duplicates. This will be the page that you choose to be functional with, in the future.
There are many ways to resolve this issue. The SEO agencies have trained and experienced staff with all the resources that will help you select the best-suited option to get rid of issues like these. A few of these solutions include:
When you have several duplicate pages on your website, the best way to fix this issue is through 301 redirects. What you basically do in a specific remedy is that you choose one page as your original one and redirect all the other duplicates to this one particular page.
For example, you have clicked and landed on one of the duplicate pages. It will display that it is a duplicate page and will link you back to the original page. This way, all the traffic gets directed to one site and does not affect any kind of site traffic of your website.
Another easy way to deal with content duplication is through this attribute. When you use this, you are basically directing the search engines to treat all the copied or duplicate pages as they were a copy of a specified URL, and all the links, traffic, and credits will be credited to the original page.
As an example, let’s say one of your blog posts is present in three different categories and can be accessed through three different links. What you will do is that you will categorize one of the posts as the primary one and link the other two to it using a canonical URL. This is one of the most effective ways to get rid of content duplication.
There are many different ways that are being used to get rid of this content duplication issue. However, the thing to keep in mind here is that content duplication alone is not a primary negative ranking factor and this has been said by experts time and time again.
Algorithms are getting sophisticated with each coming update and they are smart enough to consider content that delivers value and rank it accordingly. Still, it is a good idea to try and manage content duplication as much as possible because there definitely is a grey area when it comes to this topic.
You can even go for some external help and there are some of the best SEO companies out there that are fully capable of assisting you in this regard.
This is it for today’s blog. Be sure to share your feedback and share this blog with your friends so they can also benefit. If you need any assistance with search engine optimization, write to me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you and Goodbye.
About The Author: Lovetto Nazareth
Lovetto Nazareth is a digital marketing consultant and agency owner of Prism Digital. He has been in the advertising and digital marketing business for the last 2 decades and has managed thousands of campaigns and generated millions of dollars of new leads. He is an avid adventure sports enthusiast and a singer-songwriter. Follow him on social media on @Lovetto Nazareth