Duplicate content is the worst- especially when it’s someone ripping off your work or duplicating your own articles on their site. So what can you do? Aside from some butt-kicking? Here’s some tips that are pretty basic.
Why Duplicate Content Matters
Some of you may respond with a resounding and sarcastic “big deal” to the concern over duplicate content. The reality is this: The search engines hate content that’s duplicated repeatedly. It will have multiple negative impacts on your site. One is that it will water down how relevant every one of these pages is. Also, the search engine robots will generally choose a single page to count as relevant for their search results, and it may not be the one that you want. It’s true that most search engines have recognized the tendency of blogs to do this automatically, so the duplicate content won’t hurt you nearly as much as it would on a different sort of site. Still, studies have shown that fixing the issue will help bring in traffic, especially to older posts.
Which Pages May Be Declared Duplicates
With all these excerpts being created, new links being formed, and your home page being in a constant state of flux, a large number of pages have the potential for duplicate content. Your home page is one of them, since the blog entries that you’ve recently added already have the same information, word for word. Your category pages, “printer friendly” page versions, “members only” versions of the same page, the same page or product in an alternate category or location, and the full “read more” versions of entries are all essentially identical. If you’re not sure which pages fall into this category for your site, the SEOMoz duplicate content detector tool is a great resource to find out.
Finally, a Use for NoIndex!
So, how do you fix it? Well, there are multiple ways that you can approach the issue, and the simplest is just to block the search engine robots from getting to the duplicate pages. Throwing a simple “Robots-NoIndex” tag into your code will send the Google robot running, which is, oddly enough, exactly what you want. You can also use 301 redirects if the extra page isn’t needed for your visitors, throwing any person or search engine to the one page that you do want to have seen as relevant.
Plugins Also Work: The SEO Pager
You can get rid of some of this extra workload by using plugins such as the SEO Pager for WordPress. This simple utility updates and upgrades your page navigation, eliminating the “newer post” and “older post” dynamic options, replacing them with numbered pages. These are easier to navigate, and get rid of some duplicates.