POP SEO Tip #14: How to Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties

First thing’s first. If you’re currently duplicating content across your domain in order to improve your search engine ranking, then this is a practice that you will want to discontinue immediately. Google and other search engines consider this to be malicious, and your page ranking could be adversely affected, or your website could become delisted altogether.

Of course, there are a number of different reasons that you may have duplicate content. For example, you may offer printer-friendly versions of specific pages, or you may have information about a product on multiple pages. In theses cases, there are things you can do to avoid duplication penalties.

  • Use canonical URLs: If content is available through multiple URLs, then you will want to mark your preferred URL – the one you want search engines to access – with a canonical tag. This can be done by inserting rel=”canonical” into the <link>
  • Use “noindex” meta tag: This tag can be used to signal the search engines that you do not want a given page to be seen by their webcrawlers. This is for printer-friendly versions of pages and things of that nature.
  • Avoid boilerplate: If there’s content that’s include on all pages, for example a privacy policy, collapse that content, and then provide a link to one page that contains the content.
  • Expand content: For multiple pages where the same content must be present, expand what’s on those pages with content that’s specific to the page’s purpose.
  • Collapse content: In places where expanding content isn’t possible, combine the numerous pages that contain the same content into one page.

By employing these different methods, you should be able to successfully avoid penalties for duplicate content. Further, you will improve your users’ experience, both on your website itself and as they access it through a search engine.