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Duplicate content is a phenomenon where the same contents on a particular webpage on your website can be found on multiple web pages either within your website or other websites. It is a great factor that can hurt your website’s ranking on search results. When you have duplicate content on your website, search engines like Google find it hard to determine which URL to display on search results. And it can even get worse when people start linking these duplicate contents.
There are different causes of duplicate content. It could be that people are stealing exact content from your website to post, or from the SEO techniques you’re using. If it’s the former, well you can leave that to Google, they will be properly penalized. However, if the duplicate contents are caused by your chosen SEO techniques, then you need better SEO services before your site ranking gets totally damaged. Don’t know which SEO techniques to avoid? Sorry no more. In today’s article, I’ll be showing you the SEO techniques that can cause duplicate content on your website.
Why you need to prevent duplicate content on your website
Having duplicate content on your website means that you have more than one webpage fighting for the same spot on search result rankings. And Google won’t even know which webpage to suggest to users. Hence, all the web pages seen as duplicate content will have their search result rankings drastically reduced. In plain terms, Google avoids ranking duplicate content. When Google and other search engines can’t index your webpage or even consolidate your link metrics, your business will suffer. No organic traffic, no lead conversion, no backlink juice, and no sales. That’s not what you want for your business, right? Good! Then let’s see what SEO techniques to avoid so you don’t encounter such scenarios.
SEO Techniques that cause Duplicate contents
Several SEO practices can result in duplicate content, and most of them are technical. As a business owner, I’m sure you didn’t decide to publish the same content on different pages. Let’s take a look at what really causes these duplicate contents.
1. URL Concept
The misconception that the unique identifier of an article is the ID and not the URL is one of the causes of duplicate content. Many bloggers and website owners fail to understand the concept of URL. They use the content management system to check for duplicate content. Whereas, the same content can be retrieved through several URLs. Search engines use URLs as their unique identifier for any piece of content.
2. Session IDs
A session can be referred to as a brief history of what visitors did on your website. It is often used by business owners to keep track of their visitors and to create a shopping cart where visitors can store items they wish to purchase at a later time. In order to maintain that session, the session ID has to be stored somewhere. The common solution to this is usually through cookies. But search engines like Google don’t store cookies. Hence, they revert to using session IDs in the URL. This results in every internal link on the website having that session ID added to its URL, and due to the session ID being unique to that particular session, it creates duplicate content.
3. Tracking and sorting links through URL
This is another SEO practice that causes duplicate content. When you track links using URL parameters that do not change the content of the webpage, you create duplicate content.
4. Order of Parameters
Another cause of duplicate content is the parameters of the URL used by the content management system (CMS). They do not use nice clean URLs but use URLs like /?id=1&cat=2. ID here refers to the article, while cat refers to the category. The URL /?cat=2&id=1 will produce the same result as the earlier started URL in most website systems, however, they are seen as completely different pages to a search engine.
5. Comment Pagination
In most website systems, there are options available to users to navigate your comments. This creates duplicate content across the article URL, the article URL+/comment-page-1, /comment-page-2, etc.
6. Printer-Friendly Pages
This is a phenomenon whereby you link your printer-friendly pages to your articles pages, making Google confused on which page to rank. The one that shows your article? Or the one with ads and peripheral content?
7. WWW and non-WWW contents
When you have both versions of your site still accessible on the web, then duplicate contents may be formed.
As you’ve seen in this article, having several URLs can lead to a huge content publication problem, but there’s a solution to it. To solve the issue of duplicate content, you just need to select your preferred URL. This is referred to as a canonical URL.