The digital marketing game has advanced a lot. And unlike a decade ago, today, there are several ways of promoting your business for boosting your traffic and growing your sales to increase your profit.
This can be through social media, email marketing, Google Ads, etc. But no matter how powerful these marketing tactics are, nothing can be as effective as attracting organic traffic to your website.
However, achieving consistent organic traffic is possible only by maintaining a strong SEO for your website. And one way of doing that is to keep duplicate content far away from your website.
So what is duplicate content?
If you publish content on your website that has already been published on another website before you did, the content published on your site is called duplicate content.
Indexing the exact same content more than once confuses search engines in deciding which page to present in search results. This may have a severe impact on your SEO, and your website may even stop appearing in the search queries.
That’s why it’s important to follow the best practices in order to avoid having duplicate content on your site.
The problem, however, is that duplicate content is not always created intentionally. Sometimes it can be due to technical problems as well. But Google doesn’t understand the reason behind it. So it’s important for you to ensure that your website is free from any duplicate content.
If you’re not sure how to do that, here are 3 essential steps to follow that can help you remove any duplicate content from your site and keep your SEO intact.
1. Identify Duplicate Content Issue
The first step to fix duplicate content issues on your website is to identify whether the problem is with a specific page or with your entire website. The best way to do that is to use Google. Just add the following in Google to find the URLs containing the keyword X (X can be any keyword of your choice) on your website.
site:sample.com intitle: “Keyword X”
Now Google will instantly identify and present to you all the URLs from your website that contain the specific keyword.
You can also use the same process to find similar content on other websites across the internet. The only thing to keep in mind here is to make the intitle section of the query more specific.
For example, you want to find all the websites that contain the keyword “best SEO practices”. So you can use:
intitle: “Keyword X – best SEO practices”
Google will immediately show you all the results with a similar title. Sometimes some scrappers might change the title and use the exact content from your post. So it might be effective to make a search using a random sentence from your articles.
2. Set up 301 Redirects
Sometimes you might unintentionally use similar content on two different pages on your website. This can end up confusing Google as to which page needs to be shown in search results. As a result, it might prevent both the pages from appearing in the search queries.
The good news is that if such a situation ever arises, you can send a clear signal to Google about which page originally needs to be indexed. This can be done by setting up 301 redirects to the page containing the duplicated content.
301 redirects are mainly used to take your visitors to a new location if they try to access an URL that has been removed. So instead of landing on the old URL, your visitors will be taken to the new destination that you want them to visit.
When you set 301 redirects to the page with duplicate content, you let Google know that your visitors need to be taken to the page with the original content. This will avoid confusion and keep your SEO intact.
3. Use Rel = “Canonical” Tag
Another very effective way of fixing duplicate content problems is to use the Rel= “canonical” tag. This process is effective if you have two similar pages on your site with the same content. Using this tag is an easy way of telling search engines which version of a specific URL from your website do you want to appear in search results.
So instead of not presenting any of the two URLs, it will automatically redirect all your users to the page with the original content.
Although duplicate content can affect your SEO, the good news is that any issue related to it can be fixed. So if you spot any such problem on your site, take the essential steps at the earliest so that you can prevent any further damage to your website.