The Duplicate Content Dilemma: How to Find It and Fix It Fast

July 2, 2024

seeing double with the duplicate content dilemma

Let’s talk about something that could be undermining your efforts to rank higher in search engine results — duplicate content. 

That fantastic website content you’ve worked so hard on could do more harm than good to your search engine rankings if it’s duplicated across your website (or worse, copied by someone else).

We’re about to dive into the world of duplicate content — what it is, why it’s a problem, and most importantly, how to identify and fix it. Get ready to give your website’s online visibility a major boost as we explore this important topic.

Why Duplicate Content Matters

Picture this… You’ve got multiple pages on your site with the same content. This can be particularly common if you’re an e-commerce store owner using manufacturer descriptions for your products. It might seem harmless, but it’s not.

When search engines come across duplicate content, they get confused. Which version should they show in search results? Sometimes they guess right, but sometimes… not so much.

The result? Your efforts to be found online could be going down the drain. Not only that it could affect your credibility.

So, how do we address this issue? First things first — we need to find the problem areas. It gets a bit technical, but we break this all down into bite-sized pieces so you can tackle these items one at a time.

Your Duplicate Content Detection Toolkit:

1. Embrace SEO Tools

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is all about improving your website’s visibility in search engine results. It’s a crucial part of attracting visitors to your site. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of SEO tools to help out with this, and here are some we recommend specifically for finding and fixing duplicate content.

Think of the following SEO tools as your trusty magnifying glass. These tools can quickly scan your entire website and highlight any duplicate content.

2. Get Cozy with Google Search Console

Google’s giving you a free tool to peek into how they see your website. Here’s your step-by-step guide:

  1. Sign up for Google Search Console (if you haven’t already)
  2. Add and verify your website
  3. Click on “Pages” in the left sidebar

    Google Search Console Pages View for Finding Duplicate Content

  4. Look for any pages labeled as “Duplicate” or “Duplicate without user-selected canonical”
  5. Click on these to get the full scoop

3. Let Siteliner Do the Heavy Lifting

Want to find duplicate content within your own website? Siteliner is your new best friend. Just pop in your URL, and voila! You’ll get a full report showing you exactly where the duplicates are hiding.

4. Play Detective with Copyscape

Worried someone might be copying your website content? Copyscape has got your back. Just enter your URL, and it’ll show you if your content is living a double life on other websites.

5. DIY with a Google Search

Here’s a quick and easy trick. Take a unique sentence from your content, put some quotation marks around it, and Google it. If it shows up anywhere else… you’ve got a problem to solve.

Your Duplicate Content Fix-It Toolbox:

1. Redirect Like a Pro

Did you have outdated duplicate pages that you no longer need? Time for some 301 redirects.

For WordPress websites, you can use the handy Redirection plugin to add your redirects.

A 301 redirect tells search engines, “Nothing to see here, folks! Move along to the real deal.”

2. Channel Your Creativity

If you’re using generic product descriptions, it’s time to get creative.

Whip up some unique content that’ll make your products stand out.

3. Get Canonical

If you’re using WordPress, tools like RankMath can make this process a breeze.

But sometimes, you need duplicate content. No judgment here!

Just use canonical tags to tell search engines which version is the original.

Here’s a quick rundown on how to add canonical tags using RankMath:

  1. Edit the post or page with potential duplicate content

    open post to add a canonical URL

  2. Navigate to RankMath’s Advanced tab in your editor

    advanced tab to add a canonical URL

  3. Find the “Canonical URL” field
  4. Enter the URL of the main source of your content

    adding a canonical url

  5. Save your post

Not a WordPress User? We got you covered!

If your website isn’t powered by WordPress (which, fun fact, currently runs over 40% of all websites on the internet, including big names like CNN and Bloomberg), don’t sweat it! You can still set canonical URLs manually. It’s like being your own website plumber — a bit more hands-on, but totally doable.

Here’s the secret code: canonical URLs are set using the HTML link attribute rel=”canonical”. Sounds techy, right? But it’s simpler than it looks.

To set a canonical URL on any page of your website, just add this little snippet of code in the <head> section of your webpage’s HTML:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://yourwebsite.com/your-page/">

This tells search engines, “Hey, this is the original version of this content.” It’s like giving your content a VIP pass in the world of search results.

RankMath also emphasizes that canonical tags are different from "noindex" tags, so don’t get them mixed up. While "noindex" tells search engines not to include a page in search results, canonical tags point to the preferred version of similar content.

By using canonical tags, you’re helping search engines crawl your site more efficiently and potentially boosting your search engine results. It’s a win-win!

4. When Necessary Embrace the “Noindex, Follow”

For those pesky pagination issues, a "noindex, follow" tag is your secret weapon. But why does this happen in the first place?

Picture this: You have an e-commerce site with 100 products. Each page shows 10 products, so you end up with 10 pages of results. 

Or maybe you have a blog with category pages that list all posts in that category across multiple pages. 

In both cases, the content on these pages is often very similar, differing only in the specific products or posts shown.

Search engines might see these pages as duplicate content, even though they serve a purpose for your users. That’s where the "noindex, follow" tag comes in handy.

To add the "noindex, follow" tag, simply add the small snippet of code shown below to the <head> section of the HTML for your page or post.

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" />

If you’re using RankMath, then it’s even easier. Just check “No Index” in the Advanced Tab of a page or post.

No Index in RankMath to Avoid Duplicate Content

When you use the "noindex, follow" tag, you’re essentially telling search engines, “Don’t bother indexing this page in search results, but please do follow the links you find here.”

5. Be Consistent with Your Links

When you link to other pages within your website, otherwise known as “internal linking” be sure all your internal links are using the same format for your domain. For instance, if you’re a “www” kind of website, stick to it! Fix any links that have previously been added incorrectly.

6. Outsmart the Content Snatchers

Protect your content from scrapers by using self-canonical tags. It’s like putting a big “HANDS OFF” sign on your content.

By default, tools like RankMath add self-referencing canonical tags to your new pages and posts, helping you avoid duplicate content issues. 

Conclusion

There you have it! Your complete guide to finding and fixing duplicate content. Remember, unique content is always king in the SEO world. So get out there and make your website content as original as you are!

Need more help getting your website content in tip-top shape? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. After all, your website deserves the best treatment possible!

Lori Dean

Lori M. Dean

Lori M. Dean, is an accomplished SEO copywriter and content marketing strategist who harnesses her natural talents in leadership, organization, and creativity to produce not just captivating, but also highly engaging content. This content effectively attracts leads and converts them into loyal customers and brand ambassadors via websites and profitable sales funnels that become money-making machines for your business for years to come.

Need A Hand?

If you'd like some extra help or want us to do the heavy lifting, reach out to book a free discovery call.

More Helpful Tips, Tools, & Resources For You

Here are more articles with content marketing tips and knowledge to help you grow your business online.

customer centric website content engaging your ideal customer

5 Ways to Boost Website Conversions with Customer-Centric Content

July 14, 2024

Let’s chat about a powerful strategy that could significantly increase your website conversions — shifting the focus from your business to your audience. You’ve invested time and effort into your website, right? But here’s the kicker… If your content is all about you, you might be missing out on connecting with potential customers and losing […]

Read Full Article
seeing double with the duplicate content dilemma

The Duplicate Content Dilemma: How to Find It and Fix It Fast

July 2, 2024

Let’s talk about something that could be undermining your efforts to rank higher in search engine results — duplicate content.  That fantastic website content you’ve worked so hard on could do more harm than good to your search engine rankings if it’s duplicated across your website (or worse, copied by someone else). We’re about to […]

Read Full Article
website content writer writing SEO optimized copy

The 6 Things Your Website Content Writer Needs to Know To Increase Your Website Conversions

June 20, 2024

Your website content has a lot on its plate.  It needs to grab your visitors’ attention, give them the scoop on your products or services, show them they’ve landed in the perfect spot, and ultimately, convert those visitors into leads – all at the same time. No pressure, huh? Nailing all those goals is no […]

Read Full Article