Duplicate content is a major drawback when it comes to ranking in search engines. SEO is a complicated process, which involves tasks like content marketing, link building and social media marketing. However, correcting duplicate content can be difficult. The main features of this procedure are:
- It requires only little technical changes
- Rankings begin to improve as soon as one corrects it
- Google crawler reads up changes on your site very fast
The expert of Semalt Digital Services, Igor Gamanenko explains how to work with duplicate content correctly.
How duplicate content dilutes authority
According to the google webmaster blog, the reputation of your web content or blog post gets diluted when it is accessible from multiple URLs. Practically, this can make different pages rank low on similar content, so that lowers your SERP visibility on some specific keywords. Reclaiming the authority is easy especially when we use links with a canonical page.
One should consolidate the links with a simple 301 redirect to the original web content so that all the links point to a typical landing page. As a result, the authority and traffic of that page increase in the same measure, which results to what Google wants to rank.
Detecting duplicate content
- Knowing whether you have the problem of duplicate content is easy. Simply go to your favorite search engine like Google (or the one you are optimizing), then type in site:yoursitename.com. When several pages pointing to the same content get listed, you have duplicate links. This phenomenon means that that particular page, or product, is receiving multiple chances in the Google bots.
- The most common way of finding duplicate content is detecting the number of items or pages indexed by Google. A page with canonical tags could be causing a dilution. The evidence for this is that it might rank high on some products yet low on the one, which is not indexed by Google.
- In other cases, Google may produce search results of products more than you have on your website. When the number of search results exceeds the number of your web pages, there is the chance that you have duplicate links. When making changes on your site, it may take weeks to update all yours pages which could be way over 800,000. This outcome explains why a 404 error may greet users upon clicking some of the products with old URLs.
How to correct duplicate content
Initially, blocking Google web crawlers using a simple robots.txt file was the best way to address this situation. However, this trick fails to increase the authority and reputation on the canonical pages. The links still exist despite you avoid penalties. However, your SEO performance does not improve.
301 redirects in Apache is the best way to redirect canonical tags permanently. Redirects are more efficient than canonical tags. Elimination of categories in your web content helps in establishing one to one redirects, which is a dependable, permanent solution. For example, instead of creating site.com/category1/product1, just use site.com/product1.
Generally, the main trick behind consolidating duplicate content revolves around backlinks. When backlinks point to a page with duplicate content, they tend to lower your rank as well as affect negatively your conversions. The relevance and authority of duplicate content tend to be low. Therefore, techniques described above should be implemented in order to avoid Google algorithm penalties.