Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Content Marketing
The Panda update was a huge Google algorithm update that put a focus on quality content. Prior to the update web content publishers would post the same article or blog post on many sites. The thought was that the more frequently it was “out there”, the more likely it would be that the search engine spiders would find it and rank it. Panda cracked down on this practice and sites that allowed duplicated content (many of the article submission sites) were sent way down and nearly disappeared from the results. While Panda may have cracked down on publishing duplicate content across the web, the same concept applies to your own site. You may be thinking, “why would anyone duplicate content on their own site?” Good question. It doesn’t make sense, which is why the website owners that are guilty of duplicating content often don’t even know it. It’s typically something that happens during the web development process. The website still looks good and functions properly, so the site owner is unaware.
Here are a few things to look for to make sure that you aren’t duplicating content:
Different versions of the homepage
A standard homepage should look like this: “http://www.yourwebsite.com”. However, it’s not uncommon for the homepage to also have versions that look like this: “http://www.yourwebsite.com/index.html”, “http://www.yourwebsite.com/default.html”, and “http://www.yourwebsite.com/home.html”. Click around your website and click any link that sends you to the homepage. If it includes any of these extensions as the end, the homepage is being duplicated.
Slash versions of the page
It doesn’t only happen to the homepage. Take a look at the interior pages of your site. On some sites an interior page may look like this: “http://www.yourwebsite.com/interior-page” and like this, “http://www.yourwebsite.com/interior-page/”. Note the slash at the end. If you have both versions of this page, it’s being indexed twice and causes a duplicate content issue.
Capitalized vs. non-capitalized
Again, this is something that can happen throughout the web development process. A page like this: “http://www.yourwebsite.com/interior-page” is viewed as a separate page than one like this: “http://www.yourwebsite.com/INTERIOR-PAGE”.
Using multiple domains
Some business owners purchase multiple domains because they are easier to remember or serve a unique purpose, even though they are all supposed to support the same content. It’s advisable not to do this but if you are, make sure that each domain redirects to a main domain instead of having the same content across multiple domains.
If you find that your site is guilty of any of the above, it’s best to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Google may not have caught on and it may not have caused a problem for you yet, but it may in the future. Even if you don’t get a penalty for it, these issues are bad because they diminish the link building efforts of your site. If you have multiple pages that are essentially the same, that link trust is being spread out across those pages. To preserve link trust as much as possible, don’t delete the duplicate pages. Instead, redirect them to the proper page.