Duplicate Content: Bad News for Rankings
January 26th, 2010 by
Recently, I received the phone call that no one in SEO ever wants to receive. In a nutshell, our clients’ site had completely fallen off the rankings. I, of course, began scrambling for what could have possibly happened within a week- the final result…..duplicate content! (Disclaimer: We did not place duplicate content up. It was a franchise site.)
Acceptable Reasons for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is not looked upon highly by Google, and can either hurt your rankings or make them disappear completely. According to Google Webmaster Tools, there are a few places duplicate content is acceptable.
– Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
– Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
– Printer-only versions of web pages
Ways to Correct Duplicate Content
If you come across an instance that could be duplicate content, here are some actions that can be taken to prevent it.
– 301 Redirects: redirect all of your duplicate pages to one page. The duplicate content and redirected URLs will work themselves out in Google.
– Robots.txt: Place this in your code on the pages you don’t want Google to index. In the case of the printable text, place it on those pages.
– Rewrite Content: If you have two sites that work together for one business, then edit one site so that the content reads the same, but will be indexed differently. You can also put a small blurb on one site and link to the site with all of the information.
Various methods exist to correct duplicate content based on different scenarios. A great article I found when researching was in the Google Webmaster Tools. The easiest way to manage duplicate content is to avoid overusing.
Well said Allison!…Haha…only because I know exactly what you are talking about 🙂 Oh, and I like your 1st picture…
what about blurbs that appear on multiple pages? Like we’ve got customer reviews that show on every single page of the site and then we highlight the same 3 products with a blurb about them on almost every page. It’s not much content, but it is duplicated. Bad?
Usually an excerpt from a larger piece of content is fine as long as it’s just an excerpt and links back. This is very common in blogs for instance where the first page will be excerpts from longer posts.
[…] 4. Be sure you specify the canonical URL for each page. The big search engines do not like it when there are many URLs going to the same or similar content. You see this a lot in shopping carts, data sorting and filtering. When you specify a canonical URL for a piece of content, you are ensuring your page weight is not getting split up, and you aren’t getting penalized for duplicate content. […]