Articles in The 'Duplicate-Content' Tag


March 22 2010

Duplicate Content: What do I do with all of these domains?

by Darren Franks

Business owners will often purchase multiple domains to take advantage of all of the keyword potential that is to be had. For example, a webmaster that sells horse shoes online (I’m sure there are some) could own www.horseshoes.com, www.Ilovehorses.com and www.mykingdomforahorse.com. In this example, there are different reasons that this webmaster/business owner owns these different URLs.

The first reason could be that they all represent completely different business entities and/or types of websites and the content on each one is distinctly different from the other one. The person that owns and/or operates these websites has no intention of ever combining or redirecting them anywhere else. They are all websites with completely unique objectives that just happen to have something to do with horses.

The second reason (and usually the most common) is that all of these websites have the same or similar content and all share the same purpose; to sell this business’s horseshoes online. The problems that can incur if not handled correctly is content filtering or, even worse, duplicate content penalties in the search engines. To avoid this, one can employ certain strategies.

Firstly, you can identify which domain you prefer to use as the main domain and simply redirect the other two URLs to it with a 301 redirect. The second and probably the least practical solution is to keep them all separate, but make sure there is absolutely no content overlap. Another scenario would be to use the rel=”canonical” tag which (as of December 15th, 2009) you can use across multiple websites. While the rel=”canonical” link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, Google says that they do try to follow it where possible.   This tag lets you set the preferred version of a domain with highly similar content and is used in the section of all non-canonical versions of the site.

September 22 2009

Common Forms of Duplicate Content

by Emily Creech

Duplicate content is an issue that’s common among many sites. A question that I hear frequently is, “what makes content duplicate to Google”? Google states, “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar”.

You may have heard of duplicate content before, however, many site owners are not aware of the ways in which duplicate content can occur. Typically we see duplicate content created unintentionally, but we’ve also seen it deliberately created. On sites where it is not created in a manipulative manner, there are rarely penalties by the search engines. Instead, there is something that is often referred to as a duplicate content filter. This is where the search engines filter out duplicated pages so that they can provide the searcher diverse search results.

When search engines filter out duplicate pages, you as the publisher of the content have little control over which url or domain is displayed in the search results. That being said, I think it’s important to identify a few ways that we often see duplicate content.

1) www and non-www versions both index-able by the search engines. This is probably the most common occurrence of duplicate content.

2) Inconsistent link references throughout the site.

3) Different navigation paths.

4) Different sort orders.

5) Printable versions of pages being accessible by the search engines.

6) Additional marketing domains that are not properly redirecting to the main website.

7) Different urls that are used to display various elements on the page.

8) Re-naming urls without deleting or properly implementing redirection rules.

Some ways to address duplicate content include redirecting multiple domains to the preferred or “canonical” version, using the canonical link tag, restricting access in your robots.txt file, etc. The best situation is of course a site that doesn’t create duplicate content in the first place. However, if you do have an existing site creating duplicate content, be sure that you utilize some of these handy work-arounds.

May 15 2009

Domain Misconfigurations and Duplicate Content

by Lee Zoumas

An often overlooked part of establishing a web presence is not paying close attention to how a domain name is configured. Usually, we buy a domain name from a registrar, buy some hosting, and then point that domain name to the host, using the registrar’s control panel. However, some registrars or hosts, contain a wildcard setting that will allow all possible combinations of subdomains to resolve back to your main domain. For example, imagine you buy a domain called example.com. Typically, you would want users to browse the site in one of two ways:

http://example.com
http://www.example.com

Ideally, you would want the non-www to 301 redirect to the www version, otherwise you would have duplicate content. However, sometimes there are wildcard subdomains enabled by default in registrar or hosting control panels. Typical settings for a domain configuration will look like this:

Chart

The problem with the above settings lies in the “* (All Others)” wildcard setting. This basically says “route any subdomain to the main domain.” So all possible combinations will lead back to the main website:

http://wwww.example.com
http://abc.example.com
http://spam.example.com
http://duplicatecontent.example.com

The list could go on and on and could get downright nasty. Basically, what this means is that someone could create a page that links to all these subdomain variations and those pages will get indexed by search engines, which will create duplicate content for your website. That is why it is imperative to make sure that your domains are not configured this way.

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