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20Apr 2016

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How to Deal with Duplicate Content on Your Website

Content, SEO by Sam Ford

Duplicate content refers to identical or very similar content existing on more than one URL. It is a problem for search engines insofar as they will struggle to know which page to rank first and may even end up devaluing the whole group of pages. You may have duplicate content existing on your site without you even knowing about it. For example, your homepage could be reachable by typing, amongst others, yourdomain.co.uk, yourdomain.co.uk/index.html, yourdomain.co.uk/ or yourdomain.co.uk/home. Different URLs, same page.

There are a few simple things you can do to proactively manage and mitigate the negative affects of having this so-called duplicate content on your site.

Use Permanent (301) redirects: If changing URLs or the structure of your site, always make sure you redirect search engines to the newest version of that page. You can do this by installing a permanent redirect from old to new, otherwise known as a 301 redirect.

Be consistent with linking between pages: Follow a uniform format in internal links, for example yourdomain.co.uk, rather than any of the other variants we spoke about above.

Use Google Search Console to indicate the preferred version of pages: For example, if you’d rather http://www.yourdomain.co.uk or http://yourdomain.co.uk is the one Google should see as the main one.

Canonical tags: These are meta tags that you or your developer can add into the source code of pages to specify which URL is the correct one. It’s particularly good when pages can be reached by typing in capital as well as lowercase lettering to reach a URL.

Minimise similar content where possible: Regularly audit your site to check that instances of similar or identical content are kept to a minimum, as they can arise without you noticing sometimes.

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