Sunday, August 30, 2009

Solving Duplicate Content Issues

Many site owners worry about duplicate content issues. Often site owners might see a search engine results page (SERP) with words to the effect of

"we have omitted some results from the search results here. Click here to repeat the search with these results included"

If you click the repeated search and your site appears, it probably means you have duplicate content issues. Google has a hard time dealing with duplicate content issues, and scraper sites which copy articles, blog posts and wikipedia articles, for example and reproduces them on a grand scale.

Search Results Omitted

Of course the biggest way to avoid duplicate content issues is to produce 100% original, quality content. This is not always possible, though, and if you have an online store, it's often difficult to describe a series of, say, LCD TVs that different to what the brochure says and what (more importantly) hundreds of other sites say. Adding user reviews to a page can help with this, for example.

Google's rel=canonical tag can also help with this issue. This is more for sites which have different navigation to reach an end product and can be accessed therefore via different urls. The use of the canonical can be used here to tell Google which you want the "right" page to be, and the other pages can be effectively ignored by the search engines. This is a fairly complicated topic for a newbie, so I may expend on this in another post.

If you have old pages of content which you have edited slightly, or changed to a new, user-friendly url, and don't want to lose any link juice, then use a 301 redirect (permanent redirect to the new/correct url).

Do you think your site may be prone to duplicate content issues ? Contact me at Barcelona SEO for a chat about the site and the ideas. Or if you prefer SEO Training in Barcelona, we can arrange a series of sessions for me to explain these things one on one.

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