13th February 2013

How to avoid duplicate content in WordPress blogs

At BritWeb, the majority of websites we design are built on WordPress. We favour this CMS for many reasons including the following:

  • It is flexible and open source
  • It is easy for clients to update pages and blog posts themselves
  • It allows us to add and edit content and images easily
  • It is easy to optimise pages for SEO using the Yoast plugin

The Yoast plugin offers benefits when it comes to SEO best practice that help avoid duplicate content issues that may arise within WordPress blogs.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content arises when there are multiple pieces of very similar or identical content on the web. This can be on one domain or various. Google states that if they believe sites are trying to manipulate their rankings by posting duplicate content, site indexation and rankings will be affected. Of course, this isn’t to say that every case of duplicate content is intentionally trying to manipulate Google’s search results, but why would you run the risk?

What does this have to do with blogs?

Have you ever thought about the duplicate content issues that may occur on your blog on the archive type pages, for example, category pages, tag pages, date archive pages, author pages and pagination pages? If not, you may want to address the following problems:

1. Are full blog posts being displayed on the main blog page and archive type pages?

If the main blog page or archive type pages are showing each blog post in full then you are highly likely to be facing full blown duplicate content issues.

Solution: Instead of showing full posts, show excerpts. You may be able to change this in the theme options, if not you can update it in the PHP files that control the archive type pages. Simply replace “the_content” with “the_excerpt”.

2. Do you have site wide sidebar links that point to the archive type pages?

If you have sidebar links throughout your site/blog, you are making it easier for Google to find the duplicate content pages.

Solution 1: Firstly, do you really need each of the archive type pages on your blog, for example, the tag pages? Are they serving any specific purpose that is different to the categories? If not, get rid of them. Then, noindex the date archive and pagination pages, but keep following them so that Google ignores duplicate content but follows the links to the blog posts. You can do this in the Yoast plugin settings. Also, exclude the duplicate content archive type pages from the XML sitemap.

Solution 2: If you want to make the archive type pages unique, therefore increasing the chances of them ranking naturally in Google, then create new individual PHP files for each archive type page and insert a paragraph of unique content onto each. This will make the pages more unique and less duplicate.

I hope these tips are useful.

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