Duplicate content and site indexation is an issue that many large sites come across. Solutions may be in the navigation and simple changes can be made to fix duplicate content, but for other sites fixing duplicate content problems might be more challenging.
URL Problems Causing Duplicate Content
Problem: You own multiple domains for the same website. Having a website available on www.coolwebsite.com and www.waycoolwebsite.com will cause problems. Google may see that the content is identical on both domains and will most likely only index one. Another problem the webmaster faces is dividing up authority and link equity between both domains.
Easy Fix: 301 Redirect. Use a permanent redirect (a 301!) to redirect one domain to your preferred domain. A 301 redirect passes link juice and authority, however isn’t thought to pass 100% link equity (but it does pass majority).
Multiple URLs and Directory Pages
Problem: You have only one domain, but there are multiple versions of the same page because of default directory pages. Let’s hope that you redirected coolwebsite.com to www.coolwebsite.com (or vise-versa). But even then, there might be multiple versions of your home page:
Easy Fix: 301 Redirect. To make it easy on yourself, redirect all versions of the home page to the root domain – www.coolwebsite.com. Canonical tags would work here, too because it’s exactly the same content but I say go for the sure thing: a 301 Redirect.
SEO Friendly URLs
Problem: You built your ecommerce website on a technology that generates long and parameter filled URLs. Search engines have gotten really good at indexing the pages with parameters, but why not make them friendlier if you had the option?
Easy Fix: Consider URL rewriting. Which looks better:
- www.coolwebsite.com/folder/32?=345&p0:=2 OR
It’s obvious which one users would prefer, PLUS if you rewrite your URLs, you can include keywords and search terms. Just one-step closer to awesome on-page SEO.
Final Thoughts: URL structure is not always the cause for duplicate content or indexation issues. Navigation menus, sitemaps, robots.txt files and more can also cause problems if not optimized correctly.