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What Is Duplicated Content

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 3 min read


Duplicate content is found in more than one place on a URL. Duplicated content confuses search engines because it cannot decide which version of the content is the more relevant and which to load into a SERP from an associated search query. To provide the most accurate search results the engine in question will refrain from showing duplicate content and choose the one that most mirrors the “right’ content.

Duplicated Content Sample Coding

Rel=Canonical Code Sample

<head> <link rel="canonical" href="https://123abc.com/blog/" /> </head>   

Meta Robots Code Sample

<head> <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" /> </head>   

The Most Frequent Duplicate Content Issues

  • Search engines struggle to choose which content to include in their index
  • Search engines don’t know if it should split the link juice or channel it to one single page.
  • Search engines aren’t sure which page should rank for certain results pages Duplicate contents can be the reason sites lose ranking and traffic. It can also cause search engines to provide irrelevant results

Examples of Duplicate Content

URL Parameters

click tracking, and analytical coding can result in duplicated content

Printer Friendly Documents

when a printer friendly version of a page is generated and the index they can cause duplicated content issues.

Sessions ID

this occurs when every site visitor is assigned a session ID for that websites, and then another session ID is assigned and stored in the URL.

Top SEO Tactics: Duplicated Content

Search engines canonicalize duplicated content when it is found on multiple URLs. This canonical is done by creating a 301 redirect. This corrects the URL and uses the rel=canonical tag.

A 301 redirect is the best way to solve a content duplication. When pages are found in multiples, they are combined into one stronger relevancy page that positively impacts the ranking for search engines encountering this page.

The Rel=canonical is the other option for handling duplicated content. This tag creates a solution that divides up the link juice and passes it to the pages and requires less construction time. This tag is added to the HTML head of the digital page heading. The meta tag isn’t recreated, but instead a rel parameter is added. Values can be added into the meta robot tags for pages that should not be included in the index. Adding these values will allow search engine bots to scan pages and not add them to the index twice.

For example:

<link href="http://www.123abc.com/canonical-version-of-page/" rel="canonical" />   

Google Web Tools for Parameter Management

The Google Webmaster tools allow domains to set preferred URL parameters for different pages. There is a downside to this method in that it only works with the Google search engine. Any changes made using these tools will not affect changes on Bing or other search engines.

Domain Preference Settings

These are set for all sites. Google uses this simple method to decide whether a site is shown with a www heading in SERP listings. URLs can suffer from minor errors like capitalization mistakes that can cause duplication errors. If the same web page is written three time and different letters are capitalize in each one, then the search engine would count all three pages as different and treat them as duplicated content. A rel=canonical implementation tool used on the 2nd and 3rd URL would help point the search engines back to toward the 1st listing and treat the remaining two like identical copies of the first.

No Index Command (Follow)

If a site is having pagination issues, a meta robot tag with noindex follow values can be implemented on those pages. It will allow those specific pages to be crawled by the search engine bots but prevent them from being included in the indexes.

More Duplicated Content Elimination Methods

Ensure that internal links are consistently constructed throughout the building of any website. When sharing information with other sites, confirm that linked content is direct back to the original content. Make every effort to minimize the amount of similar content on any website. If a page is overwhelmingly similar, consider combining the pages or adding distinct and dynamic content that will differentiate the pages. Rid the site of duplicated content by eliminating the pages from the indexes using a removal tool through Google, Bing or with a meta robot.

If a Webmaster should determine that the canonical version of a website is www.123abc.com, then all the links that are internal should go to www.123abc.com/example.html and not https//123abc.com/page.html (the www is left off intentionally). Another example, if an online store is having a page about jackets for little boys and another page about jackets for little girls and those two pages share 95% of the same content. The web designer in this example would need to expand the pages to include additional content that is relevant to each URL and new and distinct pages that individualize them. Another solution would be if the web designer combined the two pages and created one single page about coats for little kids instead of separate pages for girls and boys. The new page would have the benefit of being very relevant new site.

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