How to Get Rid of Duplicate Content in WordPress
It is often said that two are better than one. But in SEO, two webpages that appear too similar can cause double the trouble. This is what we call duplicate content.
- A quick primer on meta info and duplicate content issues
- How to Get Rid of Duplicate Meta Data with a WordPress Plugin
- FAQ: How can I effectively manage duplicate content issues on my website?
What exactly is duplicate content? Google defines it in the following way:
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.
There are things that can cause duplicate content on your website. For example, you could have:
- Meta information duplicates
- Similar content across pages
- Boilerplate content on all pages
- Two different site versions
- A separate mobile site
- Trailing slashes on URLs
- CMS problems
- Parameterized pages
- Product description issues
These are all common issues for websites, and you can fix them. For a deeper dive (especially on what types of duplicate content cause problems for SEO), I recommend you read our guide on duplicate content.
Today, I’m going to dive into how to deal with the issue on a WordPress site specifically. But to start, this video overviews how to get rid of duplicate content on a website:
Now let’s focus on how to avoid duplicate content issues that fall into the category of duplicate meta information. And you’ll be able to do this easily with a WordPress SEO plugin.
If you’re already well-versed on meta info and duplicate content issues, you can skip to the next section to learn about how you can fix it with a WordPress SEO plugin.
If you’re still here, let’s talk about the duplicate content issue.
Meta tags are on the code side of a webpage. They are meta information (or meta data) about a page, including the title and description. Meta data is one of the first pieces of code that a search engine encounters when it crawls a page.
Page source view on a BruceClay.com article
The meta tags tell the search engine what the page is about. That’s why it’s so important that the titles and meta descriptions be accurate and unique within your website.
As smart as Google’s ranking algorithm is at figuring out the topic of a webpage, it still needs help with context. Because it can’t read like you or I can.
So the meta information, especially the meta title, is critical for communicating the topic of the page. This, in turn, helps Google understand that the webpage is a good match for a search query.
It’s a common SEO issue: meta tags on a site have duplicate or similar text. This can be especially true on large websites with hundreds or thousands of webpages.
And it can happen for a variety of reasons. Meta tags may not be a priority; automation software may be used due to too many webpages, and so on.
Regardless of the reason, the same or similar meta tags can cause duplicate content issues within a site. Again, this type of duplicate content is especially important to fix because meta tags are the first chance at communicating to the search engine what the page is about.
Will you suffer a Google penalty because of it? No. Google does not have a duplicate content penalty unless the duplicate content is deceptive.
Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.
This usually occurs when sites copy content from other sites and claim it as their own.
For duplicate content within a website, though, you can suffer some consequences. And that consequence is your webpages being filtered from the search results.
When faced with two pages whose contents appear too similar, Google picks the page that it believes to be the best for the query. And it leaves the other page out of the results.
But this may or may not be the page you want to show up in the search results &mdash, so you want to avoid filtering.
Until now, it has not been easy for WordPress users to identify duplicate content issues right in WordPress. But with our WordPress SEO plugin, it’s simple to get this data.
1. Install the Bruce Clay SEO WP Plugin
If you’re not already a user of our WordPress SEO plugin, here’s how you can get started:
Installation is quick and easy, and you have two options. One way is to download the Bruce Clay SEO plugin from the WordPress repository here.
Another way is to install the plugin from within your WordPress site by going to WP admin > Plugins > Add New and searching for “Bruce Clay.”
2. Set Up and Sync the Plugin
This step will sync all published content on your website with the toolset. You’ll synchronize your content when you first set up the plugin, from the Settings tab.
3. Review the Activity Tab for Duplicate Titles and Descriptions
See which pages on your site pose duplicate content issues at the metadata level. Our WordPress SEO plugin runs a check when pages are published or synched.
(A sync happens when the page is published, the “analyze content” button is pressed, or when a sync is manually run from the Settings screen.)
It then reports on any potential duplicate content issues from the same meta information.
4. Click on the Page or Post
Select a page or post and automatically bring it up in the WordPress editor so you can adjust the title or description.
5. Make Changes to the Meta Info
If you are using Yoast SEO, you would adjust the title and description there. If you are using our title and description feature, you can adjust it there. (Note: If Yoast is active on your site, the Bruce Clay SEO plugin automatically hides these fields to prevent any confusion.)
Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin’s title and description editor
Yoast SEO plugin’s title and description editor
6. Mark as Done
Mark the alert as “done” in the Activity tab. The alert will go away immediately.
You can read more on how the Bruce Clay SEO plugin helps you with:
- Keyword optimization
- Real-time and customized data
- Custom SEO advice per keyword
- Tracking your content performance
Get rid of the duplicate content in your WordPress site starting today. Get your free trial of our WordPress SEO plugin now.
Duplicate content issues can significantly impact your website’s search engine ranking and user experience. Effectively managing these issues requires a combination of technical expertise and strategic planning. This article offers valuable insights to help you tackle duplicate content and optimize your website for better performance.
Identifying Duplicate Content
Identifying duplicate content is the first step in managing the issue. Utilize tools such as website crawlers to analyze your site’s content and identify instances of duplication. Look for similar content across different pages, repetitive meta information, and boilerplate text that may negatively affect your SEO efforts.
Addressing Duplicate Content
Once identified, it’s crucial to address duplicate content promptly. Begin by creating unique and compelling meta titles and descriptions for each page. Update or rewrite repetitive content to provide valuable insights and engage your audience. Ensuring that each page offers distinct and valuable information enhances your site’s relevance and credibility.
Preventing Duplicate Content
Prevention is key to maintaining a website free of duplicate content. Implement best practices such as canonical tags to indicate the preferred version of a page to search engines. Regularly audit your site for redundant content and use redirects to consolidate similar pages. You enhance your site’s overall SEO performance by proactively preventing duplicate content.
A well-structured website with intuitive navigation can also help prevent duplicate content issues. Ensure that your site’s URLs are clear and descriptive, making it easier for both users and search engines to understand the hierarchy of your content. Utilize breadcrumb navigation and internal linking to guide users through your site while maintaining a coherent content structure.
Regular Monitoring and Optimization
Managing duplicate content is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your website for any new instances of duplication that may arise. Stay updated with the latest SEO guidelines and best practices to optimize your content strategy continuously. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can maintain a high-quality website that delivers value to both users and search engines.
Step-by-Step Procedure: How to Effectively Manage Duplicate Content Issues on Your Website
- Identify duplicate content using website crawling tools.
- Analyze similarities across pages and examine meta-information.
- Determine the scope and extent of the duplicate content issue.
- Prioritize pages with the highest impact on SEO and user experience.
- Create unique and informative meta titles and descriptions.
- Rewrite or update redundant content to offer distinct value.
- Utilize canonical tags to guide search engines to the preferred page.
- Implement 301 redirects to consolidate similar content.
- Audit your website’s navigation and URL structure.
- Optimize breadcrumb navigation for easy user navigation.
- Use internal linking to guide users through your content.
- Regularly monitor your website for new instances of duplication.
- Stay updated with evolving SEO guidelines and best practices.
- Continuously optimize your content strategy to prevent future issues.