Duplicate ContentDuplicate content is one of the most misunderstood SEO terms on the net. A lot of people believe it is the reproduction of content across several domains, resulting in the web page being penalised by search engines. In fact, search engines don’t penalise for duplicate content. They just don’t give the pages the same Page Rank (PR) value, as they are in direct competition with each other.

The real problem duplicate content creates is within link building.
For example, your domain name is www.example.com and when you create a link to your home page you will probably use the URL http://www.exame.com.

And that’s perfect, but if someone links to:

  • http://www.example.com/index.html
  • http://example.com or even
  • http://example.com/INDEX.html

The same page will probably appear.

Question: if you have 3 links pointing to:

  1. http://www.example.com/index.html
  2. http://example.com
  3. http://example.com/INDEX.html

How many links will be awarded to your home page http://www.example.com

Answer: none

Google and the rest of the search engines see these pages as individual pages that contain the same content – Duplicate Content.

This isn’t a major problem but will affect the pages PR. You’re probably aware that one of the algorithms to calculate PR is the number of links to your page and even though the example above had 3 links pointed to the home page, the desired URL (www.example.com) received no links.

Affiliate Links

A brilliant link building exercise is ruining an affiliate programme. People can promote your site or product and in return receive a commission. The affiliate code is usually placed within the URL to track the sales: www.example.com/?affiliate=CODE01

Similar to the above example, each link from an affiliate will not be allocated to your desired URL: www.example.com.

If you are carrying out a link building campaign it is vital to sort this out asap! toAnd maximise on your link building efforts!

Google To The Rescue

Google, Yahoo and Microsoft realised this is a major problem and created a link tag called Canonical Links to solve this issue.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://example.com”/>

The Canonical Link tags are placed in the HTML header containing the correct URL for the page. The tag will then tell the search engines the preferred URL you would like for each page. So if you receive a visit from an affiliate link, (www.example.com/?affiliate=CODE01) the Canonical Link in the header will tell the search engines what the desired URL should be and award it with the link.

Duplicate Content is out of our control and is extremely difficult to avoid. I strongly recommend you place a Canonical Link tags on all your pages as soon as possible and increase the link love from search engines.