Duplicate content occurs when content exists in more than one URL Duplicate content is challenging for search engines to determine which page best matches the search query and more importantly, which version they should index on their mammoth servers. Electrical Industrial IT and Marketing teams deal with huge databases of products often with millions of SKUs. I’ve worked on website projects where the site was penalized by search engines for duplicate content when the content was not actually duplicate. The verbage was identical, but the differences in products was subtle, and the part numbers were also virtually identical, but applied to different applications.
Multiple versions of identical content can dilute Search Trust, Authority and the value of Anchor Text on a single page. I like moz.com for learning about these issues. Webmasters’ rankings suffer with reduced traffic as a result of the perceived diminished value it delivers the search engines’ customers.
You can use Open Site Explorer to evaluate MozTrust for one or multiple domains. Open Site Explorer also lets you to explore a other websites’ top pages, backlinks, and a number other metrics.
A good way to avoid duplicate content are 301 redirects placed in the code of one of the duplicate pages. This stops the duplicates from competing for “link juice”, relevancy and popularity, all of which affect visibility in search engines.
noindex, follow Tag
A meta robots tag with “noindex, follow” can be placed on pages that you don’t want indexed by a search engine. Search engine bots will crawl these pages without indexing them.
More Ways to Minimize Duplicate Content
- Be consistent with your site’s internal linking. Avoid having identical anchor text point to two different pages with essentially the same content.
- Make sure your syndicated content on other sites has links back to your original content. See Dealing With Duplicate Content for more information.
- Keep similar content to a minimum. One page about uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for power generation plants, and another page on UPS’s for co-generation plants should be combined into one page.
- Use tags in the meta robots file or a removal tools given by the search engine (e.g., Google Webmaster Tools)
Above are just a few issues to consider when optimzing by avoiding Duplicate Content. Visit blogs like SEO Moz to learn more as SEO issues practices continue to evolve.
Finally, if you are at all concerned about the online health of your site compared to competitors, you can use the MOZ OpenSite Explorer to get an overall snapshot. The tool allows you to put in the URLs of your competitors to get a side-by-side comparison.