Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How To Resolve Duplicate Content Problems

You have more than one version of any page - Multiple versions of the same page is clearly duplicate content. Ex. A print-friendly version and the regular display version.) The risk is that Google may choose the wrong one to display in the SERPs.
  • Solution: Use a no_follow link to the print-friendly version. This will ensure that Google’s bots don’t crawl it, and that it won’t be indexed. The HTML of a nofollow link looks like this: <a href="page.htm" rel="nofollow">go to page</a>
  • Or use your robots.txt file to tell the search bots not to crawl the print friendly version.
You reference any page with more than one URL - Even though there’s really only one page, the search engines interpret each discrete URL as a different page. The reason for this problem is No canonical URL specified. A canonical URL is the master URL of your home page. The one that displays whenever your home page displays. For most sites, it would be Test if your site has a canonical URL specified. Open your browser and visit each of the following URLs:
If your homepage displays, but the URL stays exactly as you typed it, you have not specified a canonical URL, and you have duplicate content.
  • Solution: Choose one of the above as your canonical URL. It doesn’t really matter which one. Then redirect the others to it with 301 redirects. Read more here 301 Redirects.
  • Specify your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools (you have to register first). To do this, at the Dashboard, click your site, then click Settings and choose an option under Preferred domain. This is the equivalent of a 301 redirect for Google. But it has no impact on the other search engines, so you should still set up proper 301 redirects.
Someone has plagiarize your content - If someone has plagiarized your content, Google may mistakenly identify their plagiarized version as the original. This is unlikely,however, because most webmasters who plagiarize content are unlikely to have a very credible, authoritative site.
  • Solution: You can contact the offender and ask that they remove the content, and you can also report the plagiarism to Google ( You can also proactively monitor who’s plagiarizing your content using Copyscape.
You syndicate content - If you publish content on your site and also syndicate it,your site’s version may not appear in the SERPs. If one of the sites that has reprinted your article has more domain authority than yours, their syndicated version may appear in the SERPs instead of yours.Also, other webmasters may link to the syndicated version instead of yours.
  • Solution: One way to try and avoid this situation is to always publish the article on your site a day or two before you syndicate it. Another is to always link back to the original from the syndicated. Whatever the case, the backlink from the syndicated article still contributes to your ranking. You just may not get as much direct search-driven traffic to the article which really isn’t the point of content syndication, anyway.

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