Whenever we talk about WordPress SEO, WordPress duplicate content is one thing which every SEO professional will suggest you to avoid. It doesn’t mean when people say “WordPress is SEO optimized” they are lying, they are right, but duplicate content issue in WordPress arises because of many reasons. Today, we will look into some of the basic reasons and will try to fix it one by one.
Whenever we talk about WordPress, one common comment which you will always get “WordPress is SEO optimized”. That’s true but not completely. You can start a website on WordPress and expect to start ranking well. By option for WordPress as your Website/Blogging platform, you have taken a wise decision but that’s not all. There are many things which you need to do from the first day when you start using WordPress.
What exactly is WordPress duplicate content issue?
Content which is exactly the same but can be accessed by two URL. This could be within your blog or could be on some copy-paste blog. For example, on a poorly optimized WordPress blog, an article can be accessed by:
- http://domain23.com/SEO-post (External website)
You can clearly see, unknowingly you created six copies of your content and Google will get confuse on which link they should show it. Precisely they will pick anyone of them and rest will be hidden from Google search. At the same time, this will be an issue as Google will slowly start penalizing your blog for lots of duplicate content. Now, the most common question is what are possible duplicate content in WordPress and how to fix it.
Here I’m going to show some of the common WordPress duplicate content that you might be creating on your blog and how can you fix it.
How to find WordPress duplicate content:
Let’s talk about duplicate content within your WordPress blog. This is the very first place to start with and by fixing this, you will be taking care of 40% of your blog SEO problems. Go to Google.com and search for your site name in this format:
See all the links and browse to last page and see show results with omitted results. You will be able to see what all links Google have indexed from your blog, and you can analyze what links Google should not index. Some common parts which search engine bots should not index are Tags, Categories, Author, Archive, Search and so on. If you see any of these results, it’s time to work on your blog SEO and make it better.
Tags and Categories no index:
This is the first place where you should start with. In case if you are showing complete post & not excerpt in Tags & Categories page and keeping your tags and categories as index (By default), you are already creating duplicate content for your blog. Moreover, do you think your tags and categories pages are adding any value to search engine? My suggestions, keep them no index and do follow. You can use plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast to quickly configure no index tag.
In WordPress, you can always browse author archive or archive for older months. This is a usability feature and useful for your readers. But for search engine these are just another page, and there is no reason that they should index it. Because it will have the same content as your single post page. Maybe excerpt & not complete post, depending upon your theme settings. Setting them, no index would be helpful.
Attachment Image URL:
Here is one small issue but many of you won’t realize it until you see it yourself. When we attach an image to WordPress post, it adds images as attachment URL, and when reader click on the image, it will be taken to image attachment page.
So your URL would be like:
Now there are many problems related to this one. First, duplicate content issue or very useless page is indexed in Google, which is not adding any value. In your Google Webmaster tools, you will see such links listed at short meta description tags and that again is not very useful.
How to fix Image attachment URL issue in WordPress?
One quickest way is to use Robots Meta WordPress plugin and under Permalink settings you will see an option which says “ Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL.” Keep that option checked, and that will take care of your this issue.
Else when you are uploading image to your post, you can always link it directly to image or none.
After Google Panda had rolled out, this is one of the most common issues I have seen on my and other people site which impacted search engine ranking for that particular domain. Specially when ShoutMeLoud got hit by Panda, this is one of the major reasons for the same. Almost 35K replytocom links were indexed, and it took quite some time to remove those links from search engine index. Even setting URL parameter for replytocom didn’t remove the URL immediately. Now we have less no. of replytocom links but it’s still there. You can check for your blog too by searching on Google with Site: domain.com replytocom
If you see links form replytocom, it’s time for you to quickly set URL parameter from Google Webmaster tool as noindex. You can refer to my previous post on How to fix replytocom issue in WordPress.
Canonical URL Tag is one of the important aspects of On-page SEO. A URL could be access using:
Now all the URL’s point to the same post and thus again create duplicate content for you. By setting up canonical URL, you are directing search engine robots to which link they should index. This is one of the first things that you should look into your blog. In WordPress 2.9+, this is a default feature of WordPress or else you can use plugin like SEO By Yoast inbuilt feature to quickly add canonical to your WordPress blog. Moreover, if you see comment-page-1 and such issues, it will also be fixed by using canonical URL. You can also manually add this code to your theme before <head> section
You should also check out this video from Matt cutts where he explains more about Canonical tag:
Fixing duplicate content when somebody copied your article:
Now all the above mentioned WordPress duplicate issues are one which you can deal directly within your blog. Now, this worse duplicate content penalty is when you are penalize for someone action. For example, some blogger copying your blog post and he outranked your post. This is where you need to take help of Google DMCA. Google DMCA is very useful for Bloggers and webmasters to file a complaint regarding any such content on net which is copied from your blog post. If it’s a BlogSpot blog, Google will delete the post immediately & if it’s a self hosted blog or static site, Google will remove it from web index. How to start with it?
Some important thing you should know:
In most of the cases any good WordPress themes take care of duplication issue. For example, Genesis and many other theme club offers such SEO optimized framework and that’s where a premium themes stand out of free WordPress theme. Though you can consider using Genesis theme or you can simply tweak your existing theme with the help of codes and plugins to make it duplicate content free.
If you like this post, I would suggest you to read:
Do let us know what other WordPress duplicate content issues you have faced till now and what steps have you taken to fix the issue on your Website?