If you’ve been running a website for a few years already, chances are that you’ve probably already made a number of improvements and changes to it.
You might’ve added some new pages or revised your old ones to update your online site during one of your site maintenance checkups.
However, a big problem with doing such updates is that search engines may not fully recognize the developments you’ve just made.
Sometimes, search engine crawlers will find an old and newer version of one of your pages with almost the same content.
These crawlers read both and may notice that they possess the same contents yet are unsure which is relevant.
This is when a duplicate content dilemma happens that can affect your search engine ranking performance and confuse your potential website visitors.
Fortunately, there are some tips to avoid duplicate content on your website, and these include the following:
Have A Sitemap
You’re probably thinking, ‘what is a sitemap?’ Basically, it’s an extensible markup language (XML) file that contains all your website addresses.
It helps you present your index to search engines in an organized way, prevents duplicate content, and helps search engines ‘crawl’ your website.
If you don’t have a sitemap, make sure to create one immediately. At present, there are several tools or plugins you can use to generate a sitemap.
Depending on your situation and current site building expertise, you can also hire a seasoned professional website creator to help you.
Practice Internal Linking Consistency
Having a good internal linking strategy is essential to build your page’s search engine optimization (SEO) value.
But it’s crucial to ensure you’re consistent with your web addresses in your linking strategy as well.
Maintain consistency with web address variations. If an internal link uses a trailing slash, yet another link to the same page doesn’t, you’ll create duplicate content of the webpage.
Implement Noindex Tag
If there’s a page on your website that you don’t want search engines to rank, you should use noindex tags to your page as part of your overall SEO strategy.
This allows search engines to access the page and view its content without adding it to the index.
It’s crucial to give enough time for the search engines to follow the page since, in many cases, there are errors in coding.
You should also let the search engines decide if that particular webpage is the one that should appear in search engines.
When crawlers discover it, they’ll disregard your command and index your page.
With noindex tags, you can use them to resolve your pagination problems where you only want the first page to appear in the search engines instead of all your pages.
To use noindex tags, add them into the head section of your page’s code.
Use Canonical Tags
A canonical tag is a simple way of letting search engines know which pages you’re trying to rank for with particular keywords on their search engines.
For instance, you have several pages and you’re using similar ideas and keywords for all of them. Search engines may get confused about which pages they must rank since they all contain and discuss the same topic.
To prevent this problem, it’s critical to choose a page that you like to rank for. Then, put the canonical tags on other pages.
Such pages will still be indexed, but search engines are aware of which they’d consider as the authority page.
Pages with the same content and keyword focus can compete with one another, making canonical tags necessary. Without this, your pages won’t rank on the first page of search engines.
Luckily, there are plugins that offer canonical tag functionalities which are useful when you have several pages that use the same keyword and when you’re trying to avoid getting tagged with duplicate pages and content.
Avoid Using Nofollow Attribute On Your Internal Links
Because of poor external links, some websites find themselves adding nofollow tags to links.
Still, to make it easier for search engine crawlers to give site favorable results, many webmasters add nofollow tags at the page level.
Once you do this, you might be harming your website since the nofollow will apply to your internal links from that page.
Such internal links won’t pass the essential link juice that they must be feeding to your internal pages.
When doing this, you’re reducing the probability of ranking your pages. You may add nofollow tags to external links but never do it for your internal links.
Utilize Duplication Checking Tools
If you’re uncertain about whether or not your website has duplicate content, you can use a variety of duplicate content checkers.
Typically, such tools alert you in case there are duplicate content or repeated page descriptions and titles.
You may also perform a more comprehensive duplicate content test and audit on your website using other website auditing tools available online.
These programs crawl your online site and identify repeated meta descriptions, page headers, and web addresses that you may need to address right away.
Update And Replace Content
Top-ranking websites must indicate nothing but original and solid content.
If you’re selling products from either big manufacturers or independent makers, there’s a great chance your product copy isn’t unique.
Countless websites might do the same which makes it particularly tough for your website to rank high on search engine results pages.
Instead of repeating standard content like your product descriptions, give each of your pages the attention they deserve.
Take some time to create distinct content using your brand’s voice. If your website has many replicated pieces, updating and replacing them on such a big scale can be daunting.
To resolve this problem immediately, hire experienced website content professionals to make content quickly.
Place Redirects Appropriately
One of the best ways to avoid duplicate content is to set up and include the correct number of 301 redirects on your Internet site.
This method doesn’t only combine several pages into a single compilation, but it can also help clear up any possible structural issues.
A 301 redirect command may also help improve your SEO performance since it prevents duplicate pages from competing with each other.
With regards to your website setup, you can have options to create 301 redirects. It’s advised to use a plugin or set up a variety of 301 redirect commands through your site host.
Then, you can test for any broken links to ensure that the redirect placements work properly.
Whether or not duplicate content is created intentionally, it can harm your ranking potential and SEO value once left unattended.
By managing and finding duplicate content on your business’ website and all of its pages, you can ensure that crawlers know what to do when encountering duplicated content from your online site.
If you don’t know where to get started, make sure to keep the abovementioned tips in mind to avoid penalties and issues in the long run.