Is Duplicate Content Secretly Hurting Your SEO?

And now for our non-sexy and yet important topic of the day – duplicate content on your website. I recently discovered some duplicate content issues on my website and thought I’d share what I learned with you.

Having duplicate content on your website can negatively impact your search engine rankings. This issue is referred to as canonicalization and occurs when you have multiple instances of similar content scattered across your site. Notice we said ‘similar’ because it doesn’t need to be identical to have a negative impact in SEO.

Of course if you’re not trying to rank your website in the search engines, then you don’t have to worry about this.

But if you do want to earn free traffic through Google and the other search engines, then it’s essential to address three major issues that Google crawlers and bots encounter:

  • Confusion in Indexing: Bots may struggle to determine which pages to include or exclude from their indices.
  • Link Metric Ambiguity: Bots might not know whether to direct link metrics to one page or treat them separately.
  • Keyword Ranking Confusion: Bots can become perplexed about which version of the content should rank for a specific targeted keyword.

Unintentional duplicate content can arise due to various reasons:

  • URL Variations: Having different variations of URLs for the same page.
  • Non-Canonicalized Domains: Your site existing in different versions, such as and
  • Repetitive Keyword Targeting: Targeting the same keyword multiple times with nearly identical content.

As a webmaster, you can take specific actions to resolve the issue of duplicate content:

  • Implement 301 Redirects: This is the best method to permanently redirect users and search engines from duplicate pages to the preferred versions.
  • Use Rel=Canonical: Employ the “rel=canonical” attribute to indicate to search engine bots that a certain page is a copy of the specified URL, helping them understand the preferred version.
  • Leverage Meta Tags: Use the code “<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”>” in the page’s HTML to instruct search engine bots not to index the page while still following its links.

By proactively addressing duplicate content and employing these techniques, you can improve your website’s SEO and enhance its overall search engine rankings.


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