When designing your website and creating new content, you want to have as much original and fresh content as you possibly can. During website creation, you can make sure that you have different summaries and descriptions for each page. However, it takes more than just one paragraph to make your pages unique. This is where people get caught with their hands in the cookie jar even if they did not intend to.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content refers to pages or content of your site that correspond to other pages or content on your site. This can also be defined as similar content or pages. You generally notice duplicate content with forums, e-commerce sites and printer-only versions of pages.
Duplicate content comes down to more than just one paragraph that explains a particular page. Duplicate content takes the whole page into consideration. This includes the header, footer, sidebar, pictures, CTAs, etc.
When creating the various pages of your site, you will want to keep this in mind. When it comes to e-commerce sites, these domains will be set up to have different pages for different products. Especially when you see various models of the same product, you will notice that these pages may be marked for duplicate content. If they have the same title, same description, and/or image, you will see this marked as duplicate content.
Why Should I Care?
You can make the argument that people coming to your site will notice that these pages are separate. However, the search engines do not see your website the same way users see your website. The way Google analyzes your site for duplicate content is through different elements of your page. Google notices each element or piece of each page as a different piece of content. These are then taken into consideration when determining the presence of duplicate content.
When Google determines duplicate content, it can confuse the search engines as they are trying to determine what landing page should coincide with a particular keyword. This will ultimately affect your rankings and determine the relevancy of your website. These issues do not usually result in a penalty being passed down on a website, however, it does affect what page the search engine will use to rank your website for a particular keyword.
Most Common Types of Duplicate Content
There are various ways that your webpages can show up as duplicate content. It is not always as simple as the text on your screen. Different elements of the webpage will determine if duplicate content is present.
The tags that you create for your webpages can be a sign of duplicate content. You will see these mostly in e-commerce websites where they will have pages with the same title. Even though the products on these pages are different, if you have the same name for the title, it can harm your SEO and confuse the search engines. As mentioned earlier, when you have two different models of the same product, duplicate content can show up. That is why it is important to make sure when developing your page titles that you are being specific and unique. You want to make sure that you clearly map out the difference between both pages but that you are not implementing a title that is too long and not as SEO friendly.
Another issue that different models of the same product can find is through the description. If you do not include a description that clearly defines the product and is unique from other products, you will be flagged with duplicate content. By specifying your products and making the line in the sand between your similar pages, you can successfully create these product pages without fear of being flagged with duplicate content.
Another issue with description would be not having enough information. If you have multiple pages that do not contain enough information in the description, this can also result in you becoming flagged. Although you may have an image on the page that clearly maps out the difference between another page, you can still be flagged because the search engines do not analyze the images. That is why it is crucial to create content that is unique from your other pages and descriptive enough to make the distinction.
WWW. and Non-WWW./URL Issues
In other cases, domains have duplicate content due to http/https issues. According to W3C standard, whenever you have two versions of a URL (one http and the other https), they are considered two separate documents. In order to avoid this issue, you will want to use a canonical tag, <link rel=“canonical”>, pointing to the only page chosen as the canonical (or indexed) version.
The URL of your page will also tell you if it will show up as duplicate content. For some duplicate content cases, you will see that there is a www. version of a webpage along with a non www. version. For example, you may see the following two URLs:
These are two separate pages that although they have different URLs, they both point to the same page. This can not only affect your ranking and landing page, but your linking as well. If you have both of these versions, it can cause issues when people try to link to you they are linking to two different pages. The best way to avoid this issue would be to set up a canonical tag or a 301 redirect that will allow you to redirect users to the correct page you would like your visitors to go to.
Other URL issues including session IDs and canonical tags can affect duplicate content. The session IDs that are added to the end of URLs are meant to track users' behaviors on your site. However, they can also result in you being flagged for duplicate content. It is important that you change these so that the sessions do not become attached to the URLs.
If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.