How to avoid creating duplicate content?
What is duplicate content and why does it happen?
Duplicate content is material that appears in the same form in two or more different places. It can arise for a variety of reasons. For example, poor site architecture-- where a site accidently creates multiple copies of certain pages-- can result in duplicate content. If a spam site copies content from another website, that can also result in several versions of a page.
There may also be times when site owners want to purposefully create duplicate content, such as for content syndication or because they want to include a PDF version of a particular page on their site. These instances need to be carefully handled to avoid duplicate content penalties.
Why is duplicate content bad for SEO?
Google’s main objective is to provide users with high-quality search results. If they return multiple results with the same content, they are providing their users with a less-than-optimal experience. Users would have more trouble finding the sites and content that answer their unique needs if they are given a list of ten sites that contain the same information. For this reason, Google has made it clear that they penalize sites with duplicate content.
How do I avoid duplicate content penalties?
There are a few ways to avoid duplicate content. If you are purposely syndicating content or you would like to have more than one version of a particular page of content on your site-- such as an HTML version and a PDF version-- using a rel=”canonical” tag can let Google know which page was the original and which one was purposefully duplicated. This will let the search engine know which one should be ranked in search engine results. If you are syndicating content on a site that does not want a rel=”canonical” tag, you can use a NoIndex tag or an attribution link, although these methods are less ideal.
Within your own site, it is a good idea to regularly run a site audit, such as the one offered by BrightEdge, to check for any duplicate content. If you find multiple pages, you can delete the extras or use the canonical tag, depending upon your needs.
Taking the steps to understand and avoid duplicate content penalties can help you maximize your content exposure while maintaining a strong reputation with Google and your visitors.How do I avoid creating duplicate content?