Most Common Issues with Duplicate Content & URL Redirects
Have you tried messing with redirects on your page in the hopes to improve your search rankings, yet nothing happened? Perhaps you might have experienced traffic to have gone down instead.
When applied correctly, 301 redirects are capable of organising messy web architecture, improve user experience and get rid of outdated content issues. It does all of these together with preserving link and ranking power. But when you do it wrong, the outcome can be a disaster.
The same is true if you aren’t monitoring duplicate content on your website. In its most basic form, duplicate content is having the same or exact text wording on your website or via other platforms. This type of content should be avoided as much as possible since it can harm your search ranking and even your SEO performance as well.
We thought that it would be helpful to put together a little article outlining most common issues we see coming across duplicate content, bad use of canonical tags and incorrect implementation of 301 redirects. We’ll take a quick look at how incorrect redirects and duplicate content impact your website and really leave a negative taste in the mouths of people visiting your website making them feel a little lost & confused.
Impact of Broken Redirects
The thing that makes faulty redirects quite dangerous for your website is that there is no obvious way to know they exist. You will find that all onsite links work, an audit tool only looks at on-site URLs and not your old ones and at this stage, your broken URLs won’t be showing up in search results too so you can’t just search for them.
The point here is that if you’re not testing all of your redirects actively, you won’t notice them until it’s too late. There are some measures you can carry out however, to give your site some protection from the harmful effects improper redirects can have:
- Try to change URL structures as much as possible. One of the simplest ways to prevent having broken redirects is to avoid making them in the first place.
- If you do, make sure they are good to go right from the start. When doing so, you’ll be confident that your URLs are up to par.
- Be sure you aren’t changing URLs if you don’t need to. You shouldn’t modify your URL structure for minimal tweaks if it’s not urgent.
Now that we’ve discussed harmful redirects and how it can affect your websites in Google, it’s time to look at duplicate content.
Impact of Duplicate Content
The presence of duplicate content is not ideal for two important reasons. The first is that it can be difficult for search engines to know which version they should index and show in their search page. This affects your website significantly because it will lower the performance for all versions of the content as they are competing against one another.
The second reasons is that search engines will have a hard time consolidating link metrics such as trust, authority and relevancy of the content. This is especially true when there are other sites that link back to more than a single duplicate version of the content.
Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?
As long as you didn’t copy the exact content from someone’s website intentionally, you won’t get penalised by Google for duplicates. Honest website owners need not fear the wrath of the search giant. However, having them around can damage your SEO performance.
What are the Common Causes of Duplicate Content?
Having duplicate content is often because of a web server or website that is not properly set up in the first place. A certain CMS platform can be the cause of this during the website development stage. Furthermore, industries that are commonly affected by duplicate content are those within the automotive, real estate and e-commerce sectors.
Aside from technical causes, human-driven ones are possible as well such as content that is purposely copied and uploaded. These have major penalties from Google and it will only be a matter of time until you get caught for plagiarism.
Broken redirects and duplicate content are two things you need to pay attention to when building up your website. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to ensure that all of your pages are working as intended and are not causing harm to your search rankings.
If you need help tacking both concerns today, feel free to contact us now!