Duplicate content is one of the most severe SEO problems that can cause your site to rank lower in search engines. It’s essential to get rid of duplicate content, so you don’t have too many pages competing for ranking, which will lead to confusion for visitors and a decrease in conversions. If you find duplicate content on your website or just want to clean things up, here’s how you do it:
Using the Rel= “canonical” tag: The rel=canonical tag is used to stop duplicate content issues. The canonical tag tells search engines which page you want to index, and Google ignores the other pages. You can set a canonical for each URL or HTML version of your web pages with identical content but different URLs (for example, with session IDs). If you don’t specify a canonical on these types of duplicates, then Google may choose one arbitrarily, so it’s best practice to provide one using the rel=canonical element, either in the head section at the top of an HTML document or via link elements between documents. Make sure that all of your links use rel= “canonical” so they point back at one original version of each piece of content rather than duplicating them across multiple URLs. If you don’t provide canonicals, then every single copy of information/URLs might be indexed by Google, leading to duplicate content problems.
Using the hreflang tag for different languages: If you have a blog that has multiple languages, then the canonical tag only works for one language. The hreflang parameter is good to use when Google can choose which version of your page would rank better in different search queries, and it will pick the best option depending on what country/language searchers are using. For example: If you have the same content in English and Spanish, then just use:
hreflang=”es” rel=canonical for version en or
hreflang=”en” rel=canonical for spanish.
Using 301 redirects: If you can’t remove the page and keep your rankings, use a 301 redirect to send traffic from one of the pages to another. There are a couple of things to be aware of though. 301 redirects pass the majority of link authority from one page to another, so it’s vital that you use them on pages with low-quality content or links pointing at them. Otherwise, your site will lose its rankings in Google for other good pages while retaining poor ones because they have all their PageRank linked across multiple domains.
Using Robots Meta Tags: There are several different types of robot meta tags available, which you can use on any page within your website’s source code to control how spiders and bots behave when they crawl it. For example, if some content on a web page shouldn’t be visible in SERPs (search engine results pages), then instead of using the “no follow” tag, you could alternatively prevent crawlers from indexing specific text with the noindex tag while still allowing the page to be crawled. The meta robots tag is a more complex version of this which allows you to specify multiple behaviors for crawlers depending on their user agent. You can also allow crawling with “no follow,” so it’s important to note that there isn’t always a need for an additional ‘no follow’ tag to be used.
Using Google search console to stop duplicate content: Google search console is a great way to prevent duplicate content problems by using the “Fetch as” option. You can use this tool before you delete or remove pages from your site so that if it’s indexed in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and receiving traffic/clicks, you don’t lose all of your rankings and traffic when removing these types of duplicates.
Consolidate similar pages: If you have two similar pages, then it’s best practice to consolidate them into one page. You can do this if the content is close enough, but make sure not to lose any vital information when doing so. When there are multiple pages with similar or identical content, Google might think they are one page and only index the first result it crawls. The solution to this problem is consolidating these duplicate pages into one unique version that represents each content in its way. There are many ways to reduce duplicates when it comes to HTML, but if you’re using CMS platforms like WordPress or Joomla!, there are also plugins available for automatically identifying and removing all instances of duplicate copies on your site.
Updating your XML site map: If you have a site map page, make sure it’s always up to date. This is because Google will index your sitemap and use the last crawl date to decide if any new pages need crawling. For this reason, just changing the time stamp on the file won’t be enough – it needs to change when you update/add or remove content for these changes to show up in search results.
There are many different ways to get rid of duplicate content, but it’s essential that you don’t lose your rankings along with the pages. This is why making sure things like page titles and meta descriptions are unique on every version of a web page will help prevent Google from classifying them as duplicates.