The recent Google Panda updates have made it impossible to get away with duplicate content while maintaining good SEO health. Google and other search engines consider duplicate content to be Black Hat SEO, and your website can be penalized as a result.
Google will diminish the keyword rankings and organic SEO value of pages that have duplicate content. You should, therefore, avoid these issues if you want a high ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages). Another reason to get rid of duplicate content is that it brings you out as being unoriginal to visitors to your website or blog.
Duplicate content includes duplicate web content, canonicalization issues (when two websites have different URLs that point to the same place like http://domain.com or https://domain.com, mirror sites, and descriptions of products from a manufacturer.) So, how can you become an expert about warding-off duplicate content for better organic SEO results?
1. Canonicalize Your Money Pages
You can significantly avoid duplicate content by ensuring that your primary money pages are canonicalized with the preferred URL. In an ecommerce SEO context, products that are accessible through two or more categories, including when you have a product in the main category and the same product in a “special offer”, will often run into duplicate content issues.
By employing the canonical tag, which is built-in to most SEO-friendly WordPress plugins, can help minimize redundant content confusing which URL should be preferred in the search results.
2. Leverage The Noindex Tag
Integrating the Meta Noindex tags is important because it ensures that Google does not index pages that might conflict with your money pages. Duplicate content problems start when Google indexes pages that have duplicate content, thereby diminishing value in your money pages.
Use the Meta Noindex tags on the specific pages/URLs or folder paths to prevent them from getting recognized by Google.
3. Write SEO-friendly for Each Category Page
Writing short descriptions of what you different categories helps visitors in their search leads to greater leads conversion. It also helps in search engine optimization. If, however, you have a website that has different products under the same category, you will be forced to distribute them over different Web pages.
As an example, if you have an electronics website, the category “Television” may see URLs looking like ‘/televisions/’, ‘/televisions/?page=2?, ‘/televisions/?page=3?, and so on. When you have “paginated” Web pages that have different products, ensure that the category description is only on the first Web page of such a category since this is considered to be duplicate content, albeit a duplicate form of the same.
4. Employ Google Search Console
In addition to using a canonical tag, you can also leverage Google Search Console to ensure that dynamic or undesirable URL parameters are not indexed. You could exclude such specific parameters as “filter” and “sort”. This is indeed safer than the use of canonical tags for organic SEO. It is, however, important to note that some parameters have obscure names and you should therefore be careful when choosing what to exclude.
5. Tailor Your Own Product Descriptions
Do not rely on the product description that is given by the manufacturer or supplier of the product(s) you are selling. Any respectable SEO expert will advise you of these common issues, but they often go overlooked. Because generic product descriptions are made available to retailers, you can encounter duplicate content with other sites who use the same description.
It’s advised to rewrite product descriptions and CopyScape the content as a backup measure. There are several online tools for doing this, but CopyScape is one of the most reliable. Recruiting the services of an experienced SEO copywriter can certainly help alleviate these concerns.
Minimizing duplicate content is both a technical SEO and on-site SEO matter that address the code and user facing content. Effectively cleaning-up duplicate content and restoring a site’s SEO potential can often times yield transformative results.