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Preventing Duplicate Content ON Web Pages

Posted on 2014-12-16
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Last Modified: 2014-12-16
I have a site that, among other things, provides race results for many races.  I am finding that SEO looks at the results for one race as a different page than the results of another even though it is the same page but just with different values being passed via query strings and forms.  How can I resolve this?  I assume that it has to do either with canonical or nofollow but I don't know the difference.  Any help would be much appreciated.
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Question by:Bob Schneider
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Assisted Solution

by:Gary
Gary earned 417 total points
ID: 40503608
Search engines will take into account querystring params when determining duplicate content

mypage.php?somevar=somevalue

is seen as a different page from

mypage.php?somevar=someothervalue

You have nothing to worry about.
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Author Comment

by:Bob Schneider
ID: 40503619
That is wierd because I am doing a trial period for SEO Moz and it says that I have all of these duplicate titles and content and much of it is this type of a situation.  Comments?
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by:Gary
Gary earned 417 total points
ID: 40503632
It depends on if you want these pages indexed or not
If you do then append the title tag with something unique like the race details
or
If you don't want them indexed then use a canonical tag to tell the search engines the default page i.e. mypage.php is the default page to be indexed and any other page that has querystring params should not be "indexed".
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Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 83 total points
ID: 40503652
I suggest that your users are more important than 'SEO'.  Don't do any 'SEO' that messes it up for your users.
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Author Comment

by:Bob Schneider
ID: 40503668
1) There aren't "pages", but one page that renders different data based on the race results the viewer is interested in.  The querystring "?race_id=123" is how they are distinguished right now, or via the form submission.  That is what is frustrating me.

2) I agree that the users are more important by far and we need to try to balance that with getting more users.  

Quite honestly, all I really care about is the default.asp page in terms of being visible on the web but I am worried that the content in other pages of the site will take away from my SEO and then make my services harder to find.
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LVL 58

Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 40503680
Then you just add the canonical link on the page.

<?php
if ($_GET){ // if any querystring params then tell the search engines this isn't the real page
?>
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mysite.com/page.php" />
<?php
}
?>

Open in new window


If the data is from a FORM post then search engines won't see it as they don't post forms
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Assisted Solution

by:Gary
Gary earned 417 total points
ID: 40503682
Or ASP

if request("race_id")<>"" then %><link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mysite.com/page.php" />

Open in new window

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Author Comment

by:Bob Schneider
ID: 40503686
That's what I needed.  but what is the difference between that and nofollow?  And does that go in the head section?
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Assisted Solution

by:Gary
Gary earned 417 total points
ID: 40503692
nofollow wouldn't index the page as it would be by default with no querystring.
The canonical says index this page but any variations are to be ignored.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Gary earned 417 total points
ID: 40503699
Actually my logic is wrong
Either will do.
Though the canonical might be easier to administer instead of applying nofollow to all the links

Yes it goes in the HEAD
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