Fixing duplicate content Hack:
There are many myths surrounding duplicate content on the internet. Although it can be a nuisance, it is nothing that can’t be fixed smoothly with the right knowledge. So, generally speaking, duplicate content is content that appears in two or more web addresses, either created intentionally or unintentionally. Unlike popular belief, we do not create most of them with malicious intent and therefore does not invite penalty per se but the major cause of concern is; it affects search engine rankings.
There are many causes of its formation and many solutions. This article tries to take the reader through the important ones. It also explains how duplicate content is detected and how it can be avoided to build a successful website.
What is duplicate content check and how to fix duplicate content?
It is just what it sounds like- it is a device or process used to check for duplicate content. The fact that duplicity can happen inadvertently does not mean that it is acceptable. Also, the internet makes it very easy for people to cleverly duplicate (or plagiarise) content and avoid detection. It is a major SEO problem as search engines try to filter duplicates out consistently and deciding which version is better can be very confusing, which is why it is a source of annoyance for website owners and search engines alike.
Remember duplicate content can be of two types- those found across websites and those found within a website. There are many advanced tools available to detect it.
Fixing duplicate content, Why does it matter to site owners and search engines?
Why search engine hates duplicity:
For search engines, duplicate content creates the following problems hence fixing duplicate content is a must-
Suppose, more than one similar kind of content is present on the web. Now, search engines have to determine which one is more relevant to display in the search results. This can be difficult and there lies the problem. The easy solution is to check which publisher publish it first and already have good DA and PA score.
Link metrics is a score assigned to an article while considering various factors such as authority, trust, link value, etc. (collectively called link metrics) among different webpages with similar content. How should they distribute the link metrics, is very complicated to decide?
Which variant to keep in their index?-
Google the giant search engine has stated it tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information for its users. This means it filters the duplicate content and selects a variant to keep in its indices. It is difficult to decide which variant is best among many similar ones.
Problems created by duplicate content for site owners–
Their problems have the same roots as that of search engines. They are mainly in the form of loss in rankings and with that traffic also suffers. This creates an enormous need for Fixing duplicate content.
As mentioned above, search engines will try to curate the best content for users. It compels them to choose what they consider as the best version of a content leading to decreased visibility for the rest.
Duplicity intended to manipulate rankings:
This can lead to the removal of the site from search engine indices, which means it will not show up in search results.
Causes of duplicate content and solutions:
We have seen how duplicate content can have adverse effects for a site. Such issues can happen for many reasons. Fortunately, there are solutions too.
Causes of Duplicate Content-
- Variations in URL structures– Even a slight variation in URL parameters means duplicate content for search engines.
- HTTP and HTTPS; www and non-www– The same content can have varied versions, one link may begin with http://, another with https://, and similarly www and without www.
- Session IDs- Different users get assigned different session IDs or unique identifiers while visiting a site, which gets stored in the URL, causing duplicate content.
- Trailing slash after an URL– Its presence or absence can create duplicate content. For example, a website may have inconsistent linking practice as in dog.com and dog.com/.
- Localization or country-wise variations- If the same website has different domain names for different countries, such as .in for India and .au for Australia, search engines will treat their content as duplicate.
- Mobile-friendly version- There may be an alternate, mobile-friendly version of a webpage (AMP).
- Pagination or printer-friendly version– It can create problems if such versions get indexed in the search engine.
- Scrapers- Last but not least, scrapers. These are those who copy from the website and republish it, thereby creating many versions. Sometimes, the scraper may not give credit to the original source, confusing the search engine.
Solutions to avoid duplicity (Fixing duplicate content)-
- Adding canonical tags- It means that you are specifying to the search engine which version is true and which is copied by adding rel=”canonical” to the copied version’s code.
- Setting 301 redirects- It makes the duplicate version of the webpage unavailable and redirects the user to the original page, helping both the site owner and search engine.
- Use hreflang and rel=”alternate” for variations- This will show the correct country-wise and mobile-only versions of a page.
- Use noindex meta tag- Adding this in the code will stop the search engine from indexing undesired versions.
- Specify preferred URL parameters- Google lets you choose your desired site domain and other parameters in its Search Console.
Preventative measures to avoid plagiarized content-
- Consistency in interlinking– Do not link to your own pages with inconsistent URLs such as including or excluding trailing slashes.
- Strive to minimize similarity and be original– If the same content is present in two different pages, merge the two into one if possible and try to be original.
- Precaution while syndicating– If other sites are republishing your content, ensure that they link back to the original content. Also, ask them to use the noindex meta tag to avoid their content being treated as original.
How Google identifies duplicate content:
To put it simply, Google uses a crawler to collect data from the internet. When its crawler (named Spider) visits a website, it collects its entire content, including other linked pages on it and stores them in its database. Google then compares the data on it and if they find similar content, it decides that it is a matter of duplicate content.
Learn More: Google Working
Google now has to choose from the different versions and decide which is the best or original one, that is, worthy of being displayed in the search results.
Top 5 duplicate content checker tools:
Experts recommend the following free tools available online to check duplicate content-
5 reasons to use these tools:
Plagiarism or duplicate content checker tools are a treasure for those looking to put in commendable, original research work. We have listed below five primary reasons to use these tools which helps in fixing duplicate content–
Opens a wide range of sources not available in prima facie search engine results-
Periodicals, books and other kinds of sources come up in these tools for referencing that may not be available in Google search results. These plagiarisms checkers have access to large databases and even previous submissions from others that ensures one’s work is safe.
Displays exact content-
You can know when your phrases turn out to be verbatim to the original writer as the tool will highlight those. This is not possible in a simple Google search.
Gives percentages of similarity-
Even a lot of universities today use plagiarism detection software. When users check their work using these tools, it gives a similarity percentage to them. A university determines the acceptable rate and students need to match that or be below that rate to remain safe and avoid an unsavory situation.
Getting paraphrasing right-
The tool will display the exact phrase of the original author and you can check if you have made any mistake while citing their work, thus ensuring that your work is flawless.
Evidence of originality-
The very fact of using a detection tool forms a statement that you have not plagiarised. Presenting a hard copy of the checkering file to the instructor will bear evidence that your work is authentic.
To conclude, duplicate content is nothing to be intimidated about but having the right knowledge helps to prevent it and fix it to increase the probability of the success of a website. Also, there is no harm in making use of plagiarism detector tools to be on the safe side of things, both in website content and in academics.