How to Get Rid of Duplicate Content in WordPress
It is often said that two is better than one. But in SEO, two webpages that appear too similar can cause double the trouble. This is what we call duplicate content.
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 and you can fix them. For a deeper dive, I recommend you read our guide on duplicate content.
Today, I’m going to 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.
A Quick Primer on Meta Info and Duplicate Content Issues
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 having 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, 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 that appear too similar in content, Google will pick the page it believes to be the best for the query and leave 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.
How to Get Rid of Duplicate Meta Data with a WordPress Plugin
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 meta data 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.
Get rid of the duplicate content in your WordPress site starting today. Get your free trial of our WordPress SEO plugin now.
Read more on how the Bruce Clay SEO plugin helps you with: