Treating Duplicate Content With Canonical Links
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by Kabir Bedi
July 02, 2009
Duplicate content is a serious concern with website owners. It need not
be then case when someone else steals your content and places it
somewhere else on the web. In fact, you yourself may be unknowingly
feeding duplicate content on your own website.
Often it happens
that a certain page of your website, say the homepage itself has more
than one URLs. For example, the home page of your website can be
are like 8 different variations of the same web page. This means that
the web servers would return the same content for all these eight
different URLs. This causes several problems in the search engines
because instead of having all your backlinks go to one page, it now
split between 8 different versions of the same. This distributes the
credibility of the web page and as a result, the search engines have a
difficult time indexing it.
Solving Content Duplicity Issues
is always better than cure. Therefore, its is better to follow certain
principles in order to make sure you don't face any duplicate content
issues instead of battling it afterwards. There are lot of things you
can do to fix problems at the very beginning. Here are some...
Have Standardized URLs
URLs mean that there is only one way to reach the web page. Make sure
your content management system generates consistent URLs that are
completely uniform. This way, you would not have to worry about having
8 different versions for the same page.
webmasters link to more than one versions of their website URL. For
example, they sometimes link to www.website.com while at other times
they link to website.com. This only serves to confuse the search
engines. Therefore, make sure you select one canonical URL and link
Use 301 Redirects
If you have more
than one URLs for the same web page, you can use a permanent 301
redirect and make all the other URLs redirect to a single permanent URL.
Specify in Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools and specify a permanent URL there. It is a
really easy setting and can make a whole lot of difference to your
duplicate content issues.
Submit the preferred URL in your Sitemap
prefers the URLs that you specify in the sitemap of your website. If it
sees another of the same URL elsewhere, preference goes to the URL that
is specified on the sitemap.
Using Canonical Pages
pages are the preferred version of web pages that have same or similar
content. For example a web page may have more than one URL. Or it may
display certain products that repeated when sorted by different
parameters. Google when faced with multiple pages having the same
content, indexes only one page that is most relevant to the users'
You can also specify a canonical page to the search
engines by adding a element with the attribute rel="canonical" to the
section of the non-canonical version of the page. This informs the
website owner about identical content and make suggestions to Google
about which one to prioritize.