Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one webpage. This can be an issue for search engines because they may need help identifying which version of the content is the original. As a result, the search engine may not know which page to rank higher in the search results or choose not to rank any of them. This can lead to decreased visibility of a website and, ultimately, fewer visitors to the website.
The search engine algorithm will lower the rankings of pages that share the same content and prioritise pages with unique and original content. This is beneficial for the searcher, as they can now access the most accurate and up-to-date information. It is also beneficial for the website owner as their website will be seen as more valuable and trustworthy.
Why is Duplicate Content a Problem?
Copying other content affects the search engine's ability to decide which page to promote in search results. Search engines can be unsure of which version of the page to rank, whether to assign link metrics to one page or divide them across different versions and which versions to include or exclude from the index.
Duplicate content can be detrimental for website owners because search engines are unlikely to feature multiple versions of the same content. This means that only one version of the content will get the best result, while the other duplicated versions will not be visible. Additionally, link equity will be affected since other sites will have to decide which version of the content they should link to instead of just one, which can impact the search visibility of a particular piece of content.
3 Ways to Resolve Duplicate Content
Identifying duplicate content is the first step when dealing with this issue. Once you determine which content is the original and which is the duplicate, you must decide how to resolve the problem. You can either keep the original version and remove the duplicate or vice versa. In either case, you must ensure that all of the search engines are aware of the change.
Avoid Creating Duplicate Content
To avoid creating duplicate content, it is important to be careful when creating and editing web pages. Check for session IDs, printer-friendly pages, and pagination to ensure that pages are not duplicated. Additionally, when creating webpages, ensure that parameters are always in the same order to reduce the chances of duplicate content. Taking these simple steps can help prevent duplicate content from appearing on your website.
Use 301 Redirect
A 301 redirect is a way to combine multiple web pages into one. When two pages are combined, instead of competing against each other for a higher ranking on search engine results, the original content page will carry the duplicate page's rank, making it more relevant. This helps to resolve any issues caused by having multiple pages that could potentially rank.
The rel=canonical attribute can help prevent duplicate content issues in search engines. This attribute tells search engines that a certain page should be a copy of a specific URL. The search engine will then credit all links and content metrics to that specific URL instead of the page with the rel=canonical attribute. This attribute can be found in the HTML head of a web page.
Duplicate content is a major issue affecting a website's search engine visibility and ranking. It can lead to decreased traffic, reduced user engagement, and the website's removal from search engine indexes. With the right strategies, it is possible to reduce the impact of duplicate content and ensure a successful online presence.
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