How to Detect Duplicate Content on Your Own Site

Table of Contents

What is Duplicate Content

There is duplicate material on the website when the same content appears in multiple places. When the same content appears at more than one site address, that’s considered duplicate content. The terms “one place” and “one URL” are used interchangeably.

The existence of duplicate content does not always result in a penalty, but it can still hurt search engine rankings occasionally. It can be challenging for search engines to determine which version of a piece of content is most relevant to a given search query when multiple sources of the same piece of content exist. 

How Bad is Duplicate Content for SEO

Duplicate content is not penalized by Google. The browser does, however, block content that is the same, which has the same consequences as a penalty: your web pages will lose their rankings.

It’s confusing for Google to display the same content on identical pages, so it must decide which one to display. Whether the content was produced by a third party or by an individual, it is likely that the original version will not appear in top search results.

Another reason duplicate content harms SEO is that it can confuse search engines. 

Check out what else duplicate content sucks for SEO!

Internal duplication of content

Elements on the Page

Your website should have each of the following to avoid duplicate content issues:

  • Page titles and meta descriptions should be unique in the HTML code
  • Your headings don’t follow the format of H1, H2, H3, and so on. 

Only a handful of words make up a page’s title, meta description, and headings. Nevertheless, you should keep your website away from the grey area of duplication as much as possible. Moreover, you can create a meta description that will be seen as valuable by search engines.

Because you have too many pages, you will not be able to write a unique meta description for each page. In nearly all cases, Google uses the meta description that appears in your content. However, it is still better to write a custom meta description if you can, as it is a critical element in driving click-throughs.

Descriptions of products

It can be difficult for eCommerce sites to create unique product descriptions for each item on their website, since they must create descriptions that are unique to each product.

You must, however, differentiate your product page for filter coffee from the other websites offering that product in order to rank for “filter coffee from coorg.”.

Provide a unique description for each website that sells your product, including websites and resellers selling your product.

See our article on how to write a great product description page if you want your product description page to stand out from the rest.

The size and color of products should not be displayed separately. Put multiple product variations on a single page by implementing web design elements.

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The Trailing Slash, the WWW, and HTTP

Internal duplicate content can often be found in URLs which include:

  • Without www (http://XYZ.com) and with www (http://www.XYZ.com)
  • http (http://www.example.com) and https (https://www.example.com)
  • a trailing slash at the end of a URL (http://www.example.com/) and without a trailing slash (http://www.example.com)

An easy way to test your landing pages is to take the most valuable text on the page, but the text in quotes, and then Google it. The exact text will then be searched for on Google. The first step to determining why there appears to be more than one search result page is to investigate the possibility of the things listed above.

There is no way to resolve conflicting versions of a website except by implementing a 301 change that directs users from the unpreferred version to the preferred one in the case where www vs. non-www or trailing slashes vs. non-trailing slashes appear on it.

Using the trailing slash or www in your URLs has no significant SEO benefit. You can choose whether to use them or not.

Issues with Externally Duplicated Content

The chances of your valuable content being republished on another website are good if your website has significant amounts of valuable content. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take advantage of this. Duplicate content can be found in a number of ways:

Using Scraped Content

In the form of scraped content, a website owner tries to increase their organic site visibility by stealing content from another site. In addition, webmasters have the option of automating the stolen content they collect.

As scrapers sometimes do not bother to replace branded terms within the content, it can sometimes be easy to recognize scraped content.

This penalty works as follows: Google staff examines websites to find out whether or not they comply with Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Google can either lower your ranking on its search engine or remove you from its search results if you have been flagged for manipulating its search index.

In the event that scraped content is being used on your site, Google should be notified by reporting the webspam using the “Copyright and other legal issues” section.

Published content

When the content on your blog is published elsewhere, it is commonly called “content syndication.”. The content you voluntarily share with another site isn’t scraped.

It may seem absurd, but syndicating your content has its benefits. You can increase traffic to your website by making your content more visible. Essentially, you exchange your content and perhaps search engine ranking in exchange for backlinks.

How do I Fix Duplicate Content

It is impossible to find a solution that is universally applicable to duplicate content. However, there are some  solutions to some of the most common issues:

1: Pages in print-friendly format

User experience is greatly improved with printer-friendly web pages, even today when mobile data is in abundance and digital assistants are commonplace. The problem is that while they’re ideal for users to view paper documents, duplicate content can be problematic. 

If you create two different URLs for printing a single page; if they are both indexed, the bots will have to crawl both to determine which to display in search results.

How to solve it? 

By using a canonical tag, you prevent duplicate content issues occurring on mobile and printer-friendly versions of your site. All ranking signals are sent to the primary version of the page with the canonical tag.

Replace the URL with the URL on your site that is the original piece of content, if necessary, in the *head> portion of the corresponding web page you want to serve as the canonical version.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”shrushti.com”>

2: Issues with HTTP/HTTPS or Subdomains

HTTPS is a positive ranking factor for Google, so converting your site to HTTPS will improve rankings. Changes to your site occasionally cause content duplication since search engines see duplicates of your site.

The same problem arises when a site has a www version and one without. Prefixes. Bots have no choice but to crawl different versions of a website, draining crawl budgets and dividing link value unnecessarily.

How to solve it?

Crawlers will focus on your preferred domain when you set a preferred domain in your site’s Search Console. The preferred domain can be set in Search Console by going to the website settings page and selecting the desired domain.

3: Session identifiers and UTM (campaign, source, medium, term, and content) parameters

Web marketing metrics can be accurate when parameter tracking is used. Google, however, interprets them as different resources that are duplicates. Multiple versions will once again cause crawlers to lose track of relevance and negatively impact search results.

How to solve it?

The rel=canonical attribute specifies the preferred copy of the URL. Backlinks and site visits generate SEO advantages resulting from crawling the right URL.

4: Pagination

Pages paginated can be misinterpreted by search engines as duplicate content. There are a number of pagination problems which result in duplicate content. 

How to solve it?

It is often possible to solve pagination problems with the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” tags. The pagination series tells crawlers how the individual URLs are related to one another.

5: A Single Page in Different Languages/Countries

There are usually a number of country-specific domains for a site with identical content on both—for instance, www.XYZ.com and www.XYZ.com.ca, serving the US and Canada, respectively. There’s a chance that most of the content duplication will occur, but webmasters must still take steps to ensure they are both indexed.

How to solve it?

Top-level domains and hreflang tags ensure that each domain is visible.

  • Furthermore, country-specific domains exist as well, such as .org, .com, .edu, .gov, and .net among them. The top-level structure Google supports allows you to clearly indicate that your content targets different geographic regions. That means http://www.XYZ.in can be understood more easily from a search engine’s point of view than http://in.XYZ.com, since it does not belong to a top-level directory.
  • Hreflang tags help bots display a site’s version appropriate to their geographical location. The code below should be added to the <head> code of your website to display to Indian users the Indian URL, for example:

<link rel=“alternate” href=“http://XYZ.com” hreflang=“en-hi” />

Due to the hreflang attribute, crawlers won’t mistake translations for duplicate content.

6: Plagiarized Content

It is a reality that spammy sites have the potential to steal your content. The original site may suffer as a result of these activities. Hence you must protect your site’s authority and act against copied content.

How to solve it?

Try contacting the webmaster of the site first and requesting that the content be removed from their site. If they do not, please read Google’s instructions for filing an intellectual property stealing complaint here.

7: Syndicated Content

You can get valuable backlinks and drive referral traffic by sharing your content with high-ranking partner sites. You should, however, ensure crawlers do not interpret this as duplicate content if you choose this route. If you don’t do this, your own content may be filtered out while the content from the site you share appears in SERPs.

How to solve it?

Request that each URL featuring your content include a rel=canonical element in the *head> element before you agree to allow syndication. This is good SEO practice.

8: Boilerplate Content

This is a text that is repeating across domains without being malicious. When suppliers provide standard text for use when selling their products, boilerplate content will often appear on ecommerce domains. This text is reused by retailers for efficiency; however, search engines recognize it as duplicate content.

How to solve it?

Product descriptions should be rewritten by eCommerce retailers whenever possible. Despite the fact that this requires a lot of work, it also improves ecommerce SEO and avoids duplicate content. You should make sure that the pages containing boilerplate content or other content, have enough additional content both for users and search engines to differentiate them from each other.

Does duplicate Content get Penalized?

I understand that duplicate content carries a penalty. Generally speaking, regular sites are not affected by it, except in rare cases. The human reviewers of Google may flag a page if it contains copied or scraped content. In the event that the reviewer finds that the content is duplicate content with the intent of manipulating search engine results, Google will impose a penalty, potentially causing the site to be ranked lower or dropped completely from the search engine results. It is imperative that you do not steal content. Produce great content of interest to your readers instead.

Google Duplicate Content Checker

Below is the link to Where you can read clearly what it means from Google to have duplicate content on your website

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/duplicate-content

I will take an excerpt from the above link and put it into simple non-technical language. 

Regardless of whether you have a robots.txt file or another method to block crawlers from reaching duplicate content on your site, Google does not recommend blocking crawlers. 

In the absence of the ability to crawl duplicate content pages, the search engines are unable to detect duplicate content pages, so they will treat them as an individual, distinct pages. Search engines should be allowed to crawl these URLs, but mark them as duplicates with rel=”canonical” links, 301 redirects or a URL parameter handler. Whenever duplicate content causes us to crawl your website too frequently, you can set the crawl rate in Search Console.

The existence of duplicate content on a site does not warrant action unless there is evidence that the content exists in order to deceive and manipulate search engines. As long as you follow these guidelines, if your site has duplicate content issues, we will display the most relevant version of the content.

Final say

Content duplication can be a menace for your website especially when you own an e-commerce site. Follow the steps mentioned above and make your website free of duplication and save your time. 

If you have any other tips feel free to comment below, contact us if you have any questions regarding SEO

About the Author

My name’s Semil Shah, and I pride myself on being the last digital marketer that you’ll ever need. Having worked internationally across agile and disruptive teams from San Fransico to London, I can help you take what you are doing in digital to a whole next level.

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