What is Duplicate Content Issue In WordPress & Fix For SEO

WordPress duplicate content
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Whenever we talk about WordPress SEO, duplicate content is one thing which every SEO professional will suggest you focus on and ensure you don’t become a victim of the same.

When people say “WordPress is SEO optimized”, they are not lying.

They are right, but the 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.

Like I stated earlier, whenever we talk about WordPress, one common comment which you will always get is “WordPress is SEO optimized”.

That’s true but not completely. You can start a website on WordPress and expect to start ranking well.

By selecting WordPress as your platform for building a website, you have definitely taken a wise decision but now the real work starts.

There are a few things which you need to do to ensure you improve the overall search engine optimization of your WordPress powered blog/website and get more free traffic from organic search engines such as Google.

In this article, I will help you understand everything about “WordPress duplicate content” and you will learn :

  • How to identify duplicate content in WordPress
  • How to avoid creating duplicate content

This is going to be a learning post for you,s o grab a cup of coffee and lets get started.

What exactly is Duplicate content issue in SEO?

Content which is the same but can be accessed by two URL.

This could be a piece of original content on your blog or sometime an original content copied by someone else.

For example, on a poorly optimized WordPress blog, an article can be accessed by:

  • http://www.domain.com/SEO-optimization
  • http://domain.com/SEO-optimization
  • http://domain.com/tag/SEO
  • http://www.domain.com/tag/SEO
  • http://domain.com/category/SEO
  • http://www.domain.com/Category/SEO
  • http://domain23.com/SEO-post (External website)

You can clearly see, that you created six copies of your content by mistake, something that will confuse Google as to which link they should show.

More specifically, it may consist of the following:

  • Pages with the same meta description, title, and other elements
  • A Web page accessible from several links

Then again, you don’t call all similar content duplication.

For instance, you don’t call it copying if the page details are translated into various languages or has the same navigation or header labels.

Given that you have several copies of one webpage and other sites have too, what could be the impact?

  • One, you may be forcing Google to show the users wrong information after going through the trouble of filtering insubstantial content.
  • Second, your site may rank in the bottom SERPs or may be penalized.
  • Third, your target users may look for other websites because you cannot provide them with relevant data.
  • Finally, you are only wasting your time and effort given the three effects above.

They will pick any at random and the 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 duplicate content. Now, the most common question is what is duplicate content in WordPress and how to fix it.

Here, I’m going to show some examples of common WordPress duplicate content on your blog and how you can fix it.

How to find WordPress duplicate content

Let’s talk about duplicate content on your WordPress blog. This is the first place you need to start with. Once you fix it, you will probably have taken care of 40% of your duplicate content issue.

Go to Google.com and search for your site name in this format:

Use Google site operator:

site:www.shoutmeloud.com

Go to the last page of the result and click on show results with omitted results.

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You will be able to see all the links Google has indexed from your blog which will help you analyze the 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

WordPress Duplicate content categories
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If you are showing complete post on the Tags & Categories page while keeping the page indexed (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 the search engine?

My suggestions, keep them no index and do follow. You can use plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast to quickly configure the no index tag.

No-index Author/Archives

Author archive noindex
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In WordPress, you can always browse author archive or archive from previous months. This is a usability feature and useful for your readers. But for a search engine, they are just pages, and there is no reason for them to index it as it will have the same content as your single post page.

Attachment Image URL

This is one small issue but many of you won’t realize it until you see it yourself.

When we attach an image to a WordPress post, it adds images as attachment URLs, and when a reader clicks on the image, it is taken to the image attachment page.

So your URL would be:

  • www.domain.com/1/
  • www.domain.com/1/SEOImage

Now there are many problems related to this one. First, duplicate content is indexed on Google, which does not add any value.

In your Google Webmaster tools, you will see such links listed at short meta description tags which again is not very useful.

How to fix image attachment URL issue in WordPress?

One quick way is to use the Permalink setting of Yoast SEO plugin. You will find an option which says “Redirect attachment URLs to parent post URL.” Keep that option checked, and that will take care of the issue.

Redirect attachment post to link
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Or, while uploading an image to your post, you should select none or link to image as option. See below screenshot for the reference:

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ReplytoCom issue

After Google Panda had rolled out, this was one of the most common issues I came across on a lot of websites, including mine. And that had a huge impact on search engine rankings for that particular domain.

When ShoutMeLoud got hit by Panda, over 35K replytocom links were indexed, and it took quite a while to remove those links from search engine index. Even setting URL parameter for replytocom did not remove the URLs immediately.

Now we have lesser no of replytocom links, but it’s still there. You can check your blog by searching on Google with Site: domain.com replytocom

If you see links from replytocom, it’s time 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

Canonical URL
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Canonical URL Tag is one of the important aspects of On-page SEO. A URL could be accessed using:

  • http://domain.com/1
  • http://domain.com/1/
  • http://www.domain.com/1
  • http://www.domain.com/1/

All the URL’s point to the same post and thus create duplicate content for you. By setting up a canonical URL, you are directing search engine robots to the links they should index. This is one of the first things that you should look into on your blog.

In latest WordPress, this is a default feature. You can also use a plugin like SEO By Yoast’s inbuilt feature to quickly add canonical to your WordPress blog. Moreover, if you see comment-page-1 or similar issues, it will also be fixed by using canonical URLs. You can also manually add this code to your theme before <head> section.

<?php if ( is_singular() ) { ?>
<link rel="canonical" href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" />
<?php } ?>
</head>

You should also check out this video from Matt Cutts where he explains more about Canonical tag:

Fixing duplicate content in case someone has copied your article

All the above-mentioned WordPress duplicate issues are ones which you can deal with directly on your blog. Now, worse is when you are penalized for someone else’s actions. For example, suppose a blogger copied your blog and 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 complaints regarding any such content on the internet 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, you may ask.

You can use duplicate content checker to find duplicate content on your WordPress blog.

You can also refer to my post on How to file a DMCA complaint using Google.

Some important things you should know

In most of the cases, any good WordPress theme takes care of duplication issues. F

or example, Genesis and many other theme club offer such SEO optimized framework and that’s where premium themes stand out compared to free WordPress themes.

You can consider using the Genesis theme or you can simply tweak your existing theme with the help of codes and plugins to make it free from duplicate content.

If you like this post, I suggest you read:

Do let us know what other WordPress duplicate content issues you have faced and the steps you have taken to fix the issue.

Also check out:

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

81 thoughts on “What is Duplicate Content Issue In WordPress & Fix For SEO”

  1. Harsh
    I have a image attachment url issue on my wordpress blog. It creates a seperate url for image attached and thus creates a new duplicate page.
    I changed the url of all posts by clicking in “Link to image” in wp image section of each post seperately
    But how can I remove 40 already indexed urls (duplicate content pages ) which have only image on the page FROM search engine

  2. Thank you! While checking for my content on google I realized I had huge amount of duplicate content from tags/categories/archives. It hurts. I am fixing this and hopefully it will help a bit.

  3. Thanks for this Harsh. One of my websites was throwing duplicate title issues in Google Webmaster due to the replytocom parameter – I’ve set as you’ve suggested about a week ago. How long did it take in your example above for things to clear in GWM? Other than setting the parameter what else can be done here to expedite things?

  4. Thanks for the article. I was facing some duplicate content issues. Now I will be able to fix those issues.

  5. My journey of WordPress is just starting and I am learning one by one. But it will be much better where you guide like what you should after making a blog on WordPress from security to SEO all guide. So that he or she never faces problem in feature which are very common like duplicity content etc. I am expecting that kind of post. especially it will be great for me (beginers ). Thanks for help.

  6. Hey and thanks for this great support!

    I’m facing a duplicate problem that you didn’t mention here and it will be great to get some advice: I have a blog with about 15 posts, In the first months when I just opened it I used the “Your latest posts ” option in the reading settings and set it to show 3 posts per page and found that Google indexed these pages.

    Before about two months I created a static page for my home page and changed the reading settings to a “static page”. What happened since is that when I type site:mysite.com at google I see that in addition to my posts, google also shows these pages: mysite:com/page/2 mysite:com/page/3 mysite:com/page/4…. and all of them contain the exact same content as in my home page! These pages cause a big problem of duplicate content although they are not exist anymore and I really don’t know what to do in order to make them disappear from google search results… I lost my rankings since it happens and I believe that this issue have a lot to do with it… Any help guys on how to solve it?

    Thanks

  7. very informative post.i have written many unique post but my site was getting zero traffic from google.when i searched my site in google i found that all the catagories and tags were indexed in google.then i used tool and find that my site has 30 percent of duplicate content.Now i am going to deindex them all and see the results.

  8. Hello Harsh,
    I have a querry regarding duplicate content issue.
    What if someone stole my content and indexed on google before mine? Will my content considered as duplicate or him?

  9. Very useful information Harsh. I have a question, I am using wordpress and my site’s url parameter is http://www dot musicbell dot com and i have no-follow all the archives. Now is there any chance of my site’s page/post, open with more than a single url?

  10. Shoutmeloud has solution for my every problem.Thanks a lot Harsh sir.
    As I was checking my blog stats on some web information site (statcrop),acccording to them two different urls are pointing to the same page i.e with www and without http://www.But my blog always use only www url.Followed all above procedure and everything seems to be fine.I don’t know why they are showing that issue.As a warning,I may get pennalize by google for duplicate content.

  11. Sumit Khantwal

    Initially I didn’t knew about url optimization so recently I changed url of my 1 post 2-3 times.Now it’s under serp with 2 different url pointing to same content.Is this a case of duplicate content?

    How to remove those old urls.?

  12. Thank you for this informative post! I went to check google webmasters tools and I discovered I have a lot of duplicate title tags! They look like this:

    Blog Name – Part 275
    /page/275/?page=61
    /page/275/?page=66
    /page/275/?page=67

    They are all the same page. Do you have any idea on how I can fix it? I’m using the ALL In One SEO plugin, if that can help.

    I hope you’ll be able to help! Thank you!

  13. Hello Harsh, I also faced the same problem. I was unaware of the issue and accidentally i came across the Moz tool and after crawling, it gave me 100+ duplicate content errors with high priority. I have done all the changes according to your post. But it also shows me 200+ 404 Errors. All of my non existing HTML site. Now i’m using WordPress. Can you suggest any solution for that too.. Btw Thanks for your wondorfull blog.

  14. hi Harsh.

    Thank you very much for this informing article about duplicates. Last year I read another article of you about wordpress and I could not get the idea but this time it is OK. Thank you.

  15. Having a duplicate issue with a blog in a subdirectory /site/. Now when looking at my Webmasters I see that each page has 2 paths /page1/ and /site/page1. What would be the best way to fix this?

  16. Great article on fixing up duplicate content issues on a website when using WordPress Harsh! I will share!

  17. Hi Harsh,
    Very nice article for the newbie blogger like me. Your all point is so much important that I cannot avoid any point.
    However, here I would like to know that how can I check duplicate authors content before publishing & have any plugin that automatically detected authors or guest posting duplicate content?
    Thanks

  18. thanks harsh for this, just to add, please try your blog with and without www. and see where it leads you to. if both lead to the same place: good, if not, then search engines are seeing your blog and contents as duplicate.

  19. Hi Harsh,

    Looks like there is many problem if don’t be more careful at the beginning, and it’s great showing us the way to fix and seems like genesis framework works pretty great. Thanks

    lh.louis

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