Find and Remove Duplicate Content from Your Website Correctly
As the name implies, content is duplicate if it is found more than once either on your website or on the internet.
Believe or not, but a few such examples will affect negatively on your SEO rankings, leaving you unable to recover until all that issues are solved.
But here comes another issue; oftentimes you don’t create that duplicate content on purpose and you might even not know that such a thing exists on your website. Thus, it’s vital that you continuously keep an eye on it and address duplicate content issues as soon as you notice them.
What Types of Duplicate Content Exist?
Duplicate content has different types and all of those are equally important to get removed. So, let’s first see a couple of examples of what can be considered as a duplicate content.
- Plagiarised content; You used an unoriginal piece of content on your website taken from another website.
- You created similar content on several pages of your website. This usually happens for e-commerce website where writing a unique product description is a big challenge.
- You have the same title tags and meta descriptions for different pages.
- You forgot to use “hreflang” attribute for your multilanguage website.
- There is also a non-HTML version (e.g. PDF) of your website content and no “canonical tag” is used.
- You copied and pasted (syndicated) your content (e.g. blog article) to other social sharing platforms without adding a “canonical tag”.
- Switching from HTTP to HTTPS hasn’t been done properly and both protocols are accessible (the same with www and non-www versions). Pay attention to Register/Login pages which can be HTTP before and https after or vice versa.
- If several URLs of your website have the same content.
- E.g. https://yourwebsitename.com
9. You broke down the website comments, also known as comment pagination (/comment-page-1/, /comment-page-2/ …) and again forgot about “canonical tag” or a relevant plugin
All these make difficult for search engines to crawl and index accordingly while dealing with 2 versions of the same content. But how can you detect and see if you have a duplicate content issue on your website? Let’s move forward! So,
How to Find Duplicate Content on Your Website?
- The most primitive method of finding out if you have duplicate content on your website is to search a piece of your content on Google using “your text” and see if other pages exist with the same content.
- Another method is to do a “site” search: site:www.yourwebsitename.com intitle: “the phrase you want to check”
- It WAS also possible to check duplicate titles and meta descriptions via Google Search Console (Search Appearance>HTML improvements). However, in the new version of Search Console, an alternative for this report is not given yet. So, let’s hope it will be provided in the near future.
- Use external tools to eradicate the duplicate and other issues of your website. Here are some tools to use; Siteliner, Screaming Frog, Semrush, Copyscape and others.
After finding the duplicate content issues on your website, it’s time to remove all of that and get protected!
How to Remove Duplicate Content from Your Website?
Fixing duplicate content from your website in a “search-friendly” way is possible. It´s all about specifying to search engines which of the duplicates in the original one. Here are several ways to do that;
- The simplest way to get rid of duplicate content is rewriting where possible. Although it takes too much time, sometimes that is the only option, especially if you’re trying to fix duplicate meta descriptions or titles.
- For syndicating content to other platforms either send a polite email to the owner and ask them to add a “canonical tag” to that content pointing out your website page as an original one, or import your articles into those websites which automatically add that tag (for instance Medium when you import a story).
- Use a 301 redirect from the problematic page to your preferred URL. It will redirect both your users and search engines to the page you really want to get ranked. If your website is based on WordPress, there are tonnes of plugin that can handle that, if not; ask the Developer to handle it and DO NOT MIX IT WITH the 302 redirect.
- If you are dealing with a multi-language website be sure you used an “hreflang” attribute to tell search engines that the page has other versions in other languages. Again, either as the Developer or use the plugins if the website is hosted by WordPress.
- Choose your preferred domain on Search Console; Site settings -> select the preferred domain. Note that this is will work ONLY for Google and not other search engines.
- Remove the URL using Search Console (TEMPORARY solution); Go to Optimization > Remove URL
Duplicate content continues to grow day by day. It will not put your whole business on fire but will influence negatively your SEO. Thus, try to be up to date to Google algorithm updates and solve as many duplicate content issues as possible.
If more tips or tricks come to your mind, feel free to add them to the comments. 😊
If you’re interested which other factors can improve your SEO, check out my On-Site SEO Checklist For WordPress article.