What is Duplicate Content on WordPress ?

If you have just finished building your WordPress, website/blog, you’ll more likely than not have to deal with duplicate content.

This post will help you understand why you should be worried about having duplicate content on your site.

But I also discuss how you can easily fix it !

So, What is Duplicate content?

According to Google Duplicate content “generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar (In other words, content that appears with more than one URL). Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”

Typically, no-one knows they are creating duplicate content on their WordPress site because the platform provides many options for users to browse content on your site (by date, by category, by tags, by author and chronologically from the homepage)

For instance;

A single post in a website may be accessed by the following thin duplicates:
http://www.domain.com/wordpress_tutorialhttp://domain.com/ wordpress_tutorialhttp://domain.com/tag/ wordpress_tutorial http://www.domain.com/tag/ wordpress_tutorialhttp://domain.com/category/ wordpress_tutorial


Credit : Dan Shure (evolvingSEO)

Duplicate Content presents 3 main Challenges to Search Engines:

Search engines are stuck deciding which version should appear in SERP results.

They can’t decide which page should receive important link metrics, including; authority, trust, link equity and anchor text.

They can’t decide which version should be ranked higher.

 What about site owners?

Out of the box, if you are running on WordPress, poor on-page optimization is sure way of hurting your rankings.

Couple this with duplicate content and you can forget about appearing on the first page

As you can see from the example above, anyone could unknowingly create up to six thin duplicates of the same post.

Now, this decision . . . after decision . . . after decision . . . is a problem for Google meaning that crawl robots will pick a random URL, hiding the rest.

In other words, inbound link equity (a primary ranking factor) is passed to multiple pieces so that the visibility of each copy is diluted.

Also, Google will slowly, but surely, penalize your website for huge amounts of duplicate content.

Fixing Duplicate Content on WordPress

The classical approach is to nofollow/ noindex the duplicate tags manually.

Otherwise you can opt for an easier method such as Yoast, a free WordPress SEO plugin.

Let me explain how:

  • Start by identifying all indexable content on your site i.e. Pages, subpages, Tags, categories, date Archives and author archives

  • Decide what should be indexed on Google.

  • Set WordPress to generate unique titles/descriptions from the Yoast template.

  • Block anything that should not be indexed.

  • The chart below shows the type of content that you should index or make accessible to search engines. Read this post by Shure for a detailed introduction to WordPress Terminology

Concluding Remarks:

Although Google does not directly penalize sites for duplicate content, you should definitely look into it if you are serious about SEO.

Fortunately, by setting up “noindex” attributes on Yoast WordPress plugin you are basically telling crawlers which link is perfect for your visitors.

This is what should be indexed and ranked.

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