So recently I had cause to do a hell of a lot of research into Google penalties after my lingerie website got booted from the SERPS during the May update.
For one reason or another, it took me about 5 weeks to work out what the issue was and fix it. Actually, “penalty” is probably the wrong way to describe this issue. It’s more of a “filter” which is much less problematic to deal with!
So I thought it would be dashed nice to point out what I think went wrong for me, why, and how you can make your WordPress blog duplicate content proof.
WordPress Category Arrangements Are The Villans Of This Piece!
As I’m sure y’all know, the way that WordPress stores your carefully crafted posts can be problematic. Often this leads to the same information being displayed under more than one URL. In my case, I created a category for each product brand and populated it with a single post. This meant the same post ended up being indexed twice thusly:-
Although this particular issue happened because of my particular site structure, it can happen to pretty much any WordPress blog due to your content being indexed from many different directions.
Causes Of WordPress Duplicate Content
- Monthly Archives
- Posts By Author
- Trackback URLs
- Next / Previous Entries Links
- RSS Feed Content
- WordPress Permalinks adding in A /category/ directory to URLS accessed from certain parts of your blog.
Lots of Potential Woes There Hey? And Google Might Not Like It AT ALL…
Phew, so as you can see… there are lots of opportunities for Google to see your site content twice. They quite specifically say they’re not too keen on this, although they do also say it shouldn’t be a problem if its non-malicious. BUT if you’re unlucky enough to be flagged up as having dupe content for less than pure reasons, this might happen to your organic traffic stats: -
But Fear Not, It Can Be Fixed – Even Better… There Are Plugins To Help You!
So here it is, your handy dandy guide to eliminating duplicate content in your WordPress blog!
- First off, lets stop Google indexing all those pages from lots of different directions. I used Joost De Valk’s No Follow Plugin. I liked this because he’s very carefully explained why you might want to take some of the options within the interface. Whilst you’re on his site, grab his RSS Footer plugin. It means you can insert backlinks to your site within your RSS feed so that anyone reproducing your hard-earned content on their site rewards you with a backlink, and doesn’t claim credit for your work!
- If it’s an issue, get rid of that cumbersome /category/ in your permalinks with the Top Level Categories plugin.
- Sort out your Robots.txt file to make sure Google doesn’t index that RSS or other content in WordPress that can cause dupe content horror for you and your blog. Shoemoney said it better than I can here.
- If like me, your category structure might cause something to be indexed twice but you still want your categories to be indexable – try a 301 redirect as Google suggests. Don’t know how to do that? Panic ye not – I found an amazingly simple to use WordPress 301 Redirect Plugin. It’s got really cool stats on it too. It was this particular plugin that sorted my own issues right out. I’d already used most of what I’m chatting about above, it just wasn’t quite enough!
- Finally, just to be totally belt and braces about things, give your posts individual meta tags with this Great Meta Tag Plugin. I doubt you’d get a dupe content issue from these, but while we’re doing the 30,000 mile WordPress service I think it’s a great addition for a whole lotta reasons.
Phew. Finished? Here’s The Effect Of My De-Duping Efforts…
Within about 3 days of applying these principals to my blog, the traffic began to return and is still steadily increasing every day as Google sorts its way through my site.
I think that’s a fairly good example of just what a massive effect duplicate content can have on a site, but also just how quickly the changes you make can improve things.
Well, this has been a long guide but I hope really worthwhile in helping people deal with dupe content. If I have missed anything out or if anyone knows a good plugin for this type of issue, please do post it in the comments field and I’ll add any interesting ones to the bottom of this post.
Happy De-duping guys!!