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SEO issue with duplicate content.

Posted on 2013-01-30
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Last Modified: 2013-03-11
Hi All,

We are currently in the process of updating a site for Google SEO.

We are using the SEOMOZ tool to review the changes required.

we have noticed that a lot of errors are being put up showing duplicate content.

Upon further review we have noticed that the site is referring to the same page.

For example

http://domain.com/

http://domain.com/index.php

http://www.domain.com/index.php

These are all the same pages.
Is Google seeing as attempting to do something wrong?
The site has dropped 50 + pages in the last 3 months.

or is there something we should be doing here?
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Question by:TBerripub
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fibo earned 500 total points
ID: 38837540
1 - Is GG thinking you are doing something wrong? No it does not punish you for that. BUT any "trustiness" it might grant to your unique content will in fact be split between your various competing pages. So the result is that you ranking is quite lower than if you had a single content with a single url.

2 - So you need to do something.

3 - Not sure which pages are affected on top of the home page you mentioned in different flavors, so my suggestions below will probably uncomplete, but following them should rapidly (well, we are speaking weeks, right) improve your site ranking.

A - Decide if you prefer your site to be "advertised on paper" with or without the www
B - In parallel, decide how your site will be "linked to" in electronic format (usually trhe same as above, but nothing mandatory)
C - Ensure that all pages visited by your visitor AND the spider-bots will adhere to thie choice B. This can usually be done at the server level thru an .htaccess url-rewriting process.
I would recommend something like
#
#  mod_rewrite in use
#

RewriteEngine On

#ensure non www is rewritte to www
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mydomain.com [NC] 
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mydomain.com/$1 [L,R=301] 

#solve some problems/ issues with buggy spiders
RewriteRule ^/sitemap\.txt/(.+) $1 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^/xenmap\.txt/(.+) $1 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^/sitemap\.xml/(.+) $1 [L,R=301]

Open in new window

The L ensures that the rewriting stops in the .htaccess and that the new url is re-submitted (if you err here, your site will loop then crash)
And the R=301 is the most important thing: it tell to spiders "Hi Bob! please note that the content previously available under that url has now been moved to another place".
C - BEFORE doing the htaccess thing, you might speed up Google's taking note by registering yourself to webmasters tools, the registering both site with and without www, then some days later tell to webmasters tools that you prefer www. to non www (or the reverse, of course)
D - VERY IMPORTANT to do asap: check that your site does not create itself the problem:
D1 - Is your button "home" linked to "/" OR to /index.php (I would suspect this from what you tell)? Same for all places in your site that links to the home.
D2 - Do the same for all your pages: are there some which instead of linking to a relative address "/something" link to a complete url eg,"http://mydomain.com/index.php"?
D3 - When D1 and D2 are done, use Xenu http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html to check if, when spidering from your selected address, eg "http://www.mydomain.com" it explores so all the site, or are there still some other links to http://mydomain.com? Xenu will help you to find them...

That's a nice program to correct the situation.
Of course, next time you will have a new web site built, compliance with this will be done from the start and it require basically NO effort.
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Author Closing Comment

by:TBerripub
ID: 38838282
Fantastic info.
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