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How To Identify and Fix Duplicate Content Issues for Startup Websites

Google Duplicate Content Comic

Duplicate content is what search engines impose when they find large amounts of text that have been copied from other sites

Duplicate homepages can be credited as individual pages. The sites http://www.homepage.com or http://homepage.com need to be one or the other to ensure your homepage is getting the praise it deserves. Creating many versions of the same article to distribute to sites and networks is one popular link building technique. But, sometimes search engines can see correlations between the original and the copies and discount those included links..

Also, some shopping cart content management systems can have different paths to get to the same product or category page. If those two different URLs are going to the same product, then those are duplicate pages.For blogs, search engines understand that different categories will have duplicate content. When you have more posts about those categories the more the content will be mixed and the less chance you’ll have any duplicate problems anyway.

If you’re interested in finding duplicate content that has the potential to hurt your site, then try typing your URL into Copyscape. It will not give you results of duplicate content you have on the same URL that you submitted your query for but it will show you the result for the page you entered.

If you are getting penalized for duplicate pages, you can work to fix the problem. Locate your .htaccess file and add the following code to redirect all your www-URLs to the non-www URLs: RedirectMatch: 301 ^(.*)$ http://domain.com RedirectMatch permanent: ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com

You’ll need to replace “domain.com” with your URL as well as change whether you want everything to go to www or non-www. If you need to get rid of your /index or /homepage page problems you’ll need to implement a simple 301 redirect. This will also need to be specified in the .htaccess file using the code below:

Redirect 301: /badurl.htm http://www.example.com/

Change the example URLs to make sense with your particular situation.

Redirect 301 /index http://www.example.com.

For more clarification, it’s telling the site to permanently redirect your /index to http://www.example.com leaving you with a clean URL structure. Now, all your duplicate homepages should go to either http://homepage.com or http://www.homepage.com.

You can fix other duplicate pages using the Rel=Canonical Tag. Using it will tell the major Search Engines that the page that copies your other page should be treated as one in the same. For example:

If www.site.com/thincrust/pizza/pepperoni isn’t the correct page, and you would rather have www.site.com/pizza/thincrust/pepperoni be the main page, you’d want to put a rel=canonical tag on www.site.com/thincrust/pizza/pepperoni. This way the Search Engines understand that it’s a user-generated duplicate page and the search engines be confused on which page to display or give credit too.

Using the rel=canonical tag is an alternative to programming a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is still the preferred way to guarantee the search engines understand your intent to move content from one URL to another.

While some have argued that Google’s duplicate content penalty does not exist, duplicated content can be fixed if you find you are being penalized and your site isn’t receiving the merit it deserves.

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