Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Duplicate Content Issues and Probable Solutions

I am sure many of the webmasters have this duplicate content issue and the Big G still does not has a clear-cut solution of solving this issue. Mat Cutts in his blog/videos did address this issue but, I do not think it completely solves the issue of giving the ranking credit to the actual owner of the article. How does Google know who the actual owner is?

Knowingly or unknowingly over the web duplicate content is developed and the SERPs are hijacked. So, let us know what leads to or is considered as duplicate content by Google or any other search engine.
  1. Treating mywebsite.com and www.mywebsite.com as different website. The simple solution for this is to use 301 re-direct for mywebsite.com to www.mywebsite.com.

  2. You want to have specific regional websites catering to different geographical areas. You have business.com and you also want to have business.co.uk, business.ca and so on. And you use the same content on all these domains. Matt Cutts says, it is not a big concern and webmasters need not worry about it. Do you have the answer for this?

  3. Issues with subdomains having the same content as the main domain. If at all you want to use subdomains then, it is better to use 301 re-directs.

  4. Dealers or affiliates taking the content from the website of main seller or the manufacturer to market and promote the products. These are honest people who want to sell the products and are caught as dupes as they usually copy the product description from the main website and have it on their own website. Sometimes the SERPs are also hijacked in such cases. If you want to get traffic from the search engines then, use your own content. Google always and will love “original” content.

  5. If you have an affiliate program then the program usually generate affiliate links similar to www.yourwebsite.com?affid=007. Search engine will consider this as a separate page to www.yourwebsite.com. Your affiliates will use the affid parameter links, so that they get the credit of sales/clicks their website generates. The only way to avoid this is ask your affiliates to use rel=”nofollow”. But, this can be a dumb idea of losing the link credit. But, this affiliate link can hijack your main site rankings.

  6. If your site is getting few pages dynamically with duplicate content like
    Specifying a link tag in the section of your page content (as seen below) will indicate to the search engine robot that the URL is present and that it should be represented as the preferred canonical URL designated as: link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/products.php” using proper html open and close tags. Please note that the tag will be treated similarly to the 301 re-direct.

Please note that this is just tip of the ice berg and still there are more such innocent duplicate content issues which are difficult to identify and resolve. So, always be careful you do not make such mistakes.

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