Live Wire Blog from Vortx

What are Canonical Issues and Duplicate Content?

Canonical Issues occur when a website has the same content appearing on multiple URLs. Duplicate content can negatively impact your search engine performance. Some search engines consider it a form of keyword stuffing; others have difficulty prioritizing multiple pages with the same content. Either way, both results lower your position in search results. By designating one piece of content canonical you tell search engines to ignore other versions of the same content. How Can I Test for Canonical Issues? Check your website at the following URLs: http://www.YOURSITE.com http://YOURSITE.com http://www.YOURSITE.com/default.aspx http://YOURSITE.com/Default.aspx If you can view your homepage from each of these URLs, you are hurting your search engine ranking. In the eyes of a search engine you are splitting up the value of your homepage. You're competing against yourself! Having a 'www' and 'non-www' version of a site is the most common way duplicate content is created. But that's just one way. Sometimes it's blatant, like the copy and paste of one page's content to a new page. Some times it's more subtle, like having a page with the same content but different querystring values in the URL. The Fixes:
  • Canonical Element Link - This is great for fixing a single canonical issue, like a homepage. Just add:
    <link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/page.html"/>
    to the head of a page. Learn more about this tag from Google's Matt Cutts.
  • Setup 301 Redirects via .htaccess - This is a better solution for fixing multiple pages at the same time.
Free, but only for Google:
  • Google Webmaster Tools - Set up an account and select if you prefer the "www" or "non-www" URL.
  • Google Sitemaps - Google will give a link that is in a Google sitemap preferences over pages that are not.
Managing duplicate content is an important part of a site's SEO efforts.  Learn more about how Vortx can help you improve your site with search engine optimization.

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