How to Identify & Solve Duplicate Content

Duplicate Conent is an SEO problem that many small businesses have. The problem is that your website has multiple instance of the same content unless you have resolved this. Many site owners are unaware of this issue because it is likely that when you visit your domain you see it the same way every time. We will look at identifying and solving duplicate content.

The problem with duplicate content is that it effects your search results. When there are multiple instances of the same information, Google tries to determine which situation is the most appropriate to deliver in search results. If the page is unclear it then tries to determine which domain is the most appropriate. The problem is that it may get it wrong and as a result effect your search rankings. The second issue is that people linking to your content may link to the wrong url. This also will effect your search rankings.

Here is an example of how a domain will have duplicate content. (Your website may be programmed in some other language than .html such as .asp or .php).

http://www.example.com

http://www.example.com/index.html

http://example.com

http://example/index.html

Another example of a duplicate content comes from session ids. This most commonly occurs when a website attributes a session to a visitor in order to better deliver service to its visitors. A good example of this is eCommerce sites who give a session id to the customer in order to enable a shopping cart. The problem would be that search engines may then be considered a visitor and then assigned a different url every time it visits. This then creates duplicate content. Here is an example of duplicate content. The portion after the question mark is the duplicate content. http://www.example.com/product.php?new-product-session:2039

Here are a few methods to help resolve this issue.
Create a 301 redirect to solve duplicate content. A 301 redirect is a common method to redirect one page to another. This is done in an .htaccess file. You do this by saving a file and naming .htaccess. The name of the file is the extension. Once you do this you want to include this code in your site for an htaccess.


RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

The next method is to set a cannonical meta tag on your site. The cannonical tag declares to search engines which url you want indexed and redirects to a particular page. This method is relatively easy since it is just placing a meta tag in your header. The tag looks like this.

About Derek Hanson

Derek Hanson is a digital strategist and founder of Emprise Media, a digital web design and internet marketing firm. You can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin.
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