Why Duplicate Pages in WordPress Are Bad and How to Avoid Them

Why Duplicate Pages in WordPress Are Bad and How to Avoid Them 1 - Sanders Design

If you manage a WordPress site, chances are you’ve run into the issue of duplicate pages at some point. Whether it’s caused by an incorrect URL setting or a plugin conflict, duplicate pages can hurt your website’s performance.

One key part of any successful SEO strategy is creating unique and original content. However, sometimes WordPress users accidentally create duplicate pages without realizing it. This can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts because Google may punish your site for having duplicate content.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to avoid accidentally creating duplicate pages in WordPress so you can keep your site’s SEO healthy.

Why Duplicate Content Is Bad for Your Word Press Site’s SEO

When it comes to SEO, Google wants to deliver the best possible results to its users. That means giving them fresh, relevant, and unique content from websites that are easy to use and navigate. 

If Google finds that your website has multiple pages with the same or very similar content, it classifies that as “duplicate content.” This confuses Google and can result in lower web traffic levels for your site because Google may choose to rank other websites above yours in the search results.

Why Duplicate Content Is Bad for Your Word Press Sites SEO - Sanders Design

Additionally, if you have a lot of duplicate content on your website, it can make your site appear spammy to Google which may result in penalties. 

How to Avoid Creating Duplicate Pages in WordPress

Now that we’ve talked about why you should avoid having duplicate content on your WordPress site, let’s go over a few tips on how to avoid creating duplicate pages in the first place. 

Use Canonical URLs: A canonical URL is an HTML element that tells Google which version of a page is the original. By using canonical URLs on your WordPress site, you can prevent Google from penalizing you for having duplicate content. You can add canonical URLs manually or by using a plugin like Yoast SEO and RankMath. 

Noindex Tags: Another way to tell Google which version of a page is the original is by using “noindex” tags. Noindex tags are pieces of code that tell Google not to index a specific page on your website. To add a “noindex” tag in WordPress, you’ll need to edit the header code of the duplicated page. 

Avoid Using Identical Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: When you’re creating new pages or posts in WordPress, be sure to avoid using identical title tags and meta descriptions across multiple pieces of content.

These are both important elements of any given page that help search engines understand what the page is about. If you use identical title tags and meta descriptions across multiple pages, Google may think that you’re trying to game the system and could penalize your site accordingly. 

How to Handle Your WordPress Tags

How to Handle Your WordPress Tags - Sanders Design

If you’re using WordPress tags on your site, there’s a chance that you could end up with duplicate content if you’re not careful. That’s because when someone clicks on a tag on your site, they’ll be taken to a page that displays all of the posts that are associated with that tag.

For example, let’s say you have a blog post about “SEO tips” and you’ve tagged it with “SEO,” “tips,” and “WordPress.” If someone clicks on the “SEO” tag, they’ll be taken to a page that includes your blog post as well as any other posts that are tagged with “SEO.”

This can create duplicate content because the same blog post will appear on multiple pages on your site. To avoid this, you can use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO to add “noindex” to your tags pages. This will tell Google not to index tag pages on your site which will prevent duplicate content from being an issue.

How to Control Your WordPress Search Box URLs

Search boxes on WordPress sites can cause duplicate content issues. Just like tag pages, when someone uses the search box and enters a keyword or phrase, they’re taken to a results page that includes all of the site’s content containing that word or phrase.

The best way to avoid this is to add a “noindex” tag to your search results pages. This will tell Google not to index those pages and as a result, they won’t be included in the search results.

How to Manage Your WordPress Categories

Category pages are similar to tags and search pages, in that they tend to feature numerous posts and articles.

Categories should be treated more like an organizational tool for you and your team rather than something that is meant to be shown on Google for your website. We recommend adding a “noindex” to your category pages if you don’t want them to show up on Google.

Alternatively, you can add “Disallow” tags to your robots.txt file located in the root directory of your WordPress site and add the following line of code:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /category/

Or, if you’re using a plugin like RankMath or Yoast SEO, you can simply go to the plugin’s settings page and add the category pages that you don’t want to be indexed.

How to Find Duplicate Pages in WordPress

The first step is to identify which pages on your site are duplicates. You can do this by using a tool like Google Search Console, which is a free tool that allows you to crawl your site and find duplicate content.

The Pages tab under Performance allows you to find URLs which might be causing duplicate content problems. These are some of the more frequent issues: HTTP and HTTPS versions of the same URL. www and non-www versions of the same URL.

How to Find Duplicate Pages in WordPress - Sanders Design

Once you’ve identified the duplicate pages on your site, the next step is to figure out which one of these pages is the “original” or “canonical” page. The canonical page is the one that you want people to see when they visit your site, and it’s the one that should be indexed by search engines. 

To find the canonical page, you can look at a few factors such as the age of the page, the number of inbound links pointing to the page, and whether or not the page is being blocked by a “noindex” tag. Once you’ve determined which page to canonical, you can take steps to make sure that this is the page that people will see when they visit your site.

How to Fix Duplicate Pages in WordPress

There are a few ways that you can fix duplicate pages in WordPress. The most common way is to use what’s called a “rel=canonical” tag. This is a piece of code that you can add to the <head> section of your HTML code that tells the search engines which page is the canonical page. 

For example, let’s say that you have two pages on your site with similar content: www.example.com/page-1 and www.example.com/page-2 . If you want www.example.com/page-1 to be the canonical page, then you would add this code to the <head> section of that page: 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/page-1″>

This tells the search engines that www.example.com/page-1 is the canonical page, and it should be indexed instead of www.example.com/page-2. 

If you don’t want to mess with code, then there’s another way to fix duplicate pages in WordPress by using an SEO plugin. These plugins allow you to set a canonical URL for each post and page on your site from within the WordPress admin area. 

Conclusion

Duplicate pages can be a common issue on WordPress sites, especially if you have a lot of content. Duplicate pages can hurt your SEO because they split up your link equity and confuse the search engines.

You should also avoid using identical title tags and meta descriptions across multiple pieces of content. Following these tips will help you keep your WordPress site’s SEO healthy.

Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can fix duplicate pages in WordPress so that you can improve your SEO and ranking. The most common way is to use a plugin like Yoast SEO and RankMath. These plugins allow you to set a canonical URL for each post and page on your site from within the WordPress admin area.

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