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Duplicate content can be an issue and rightfully so:
- I post original content on my site.
- Somebody else publishes it on their site.
- Google penalizes them – or me – for duplicate content!
Stop stealing my content!
Duplicate content is usually most annoying when other sites scrap your original content and try to pass it off on their own. Sometimes – maybe often – Google catches the issue and gives the original site the credit.
Not all duplicate content is a case of stolen identify, however: Of course, some publishers – including the Tribune Company and many others – have a host of websites that want to use versions of the same story for their different audiences. Over the years, they would set a canonical URL between the different versions, giving credit to the original site.
What is a canonical URL and how does it help with duplicate content?
A canonical URL is set behind the scenes and alerts Google that the publisher knows that a specific piece of content has also appeared elsewhere. It basically says: “Google, we know it’s published over there as well and they are the original source. Please give them credit. We come in peace.”
You get the point. It signals to Google that you aren’t trying to scam the other site, but are helping distribute the content further. In fact, it likely will give the other site more Google Juice!
So from that perspective, re-using content on your family of sites and setting a canonical URL is smart:
- It helps you reach all your audiences who might find a story interesting
- It drives SEO authority to other sites
More content to read:
How to set a canonical URL in WordPress to avoid duplicate content issues?
It’s quite easy and I stumbled upon this by accident – as is often the case in finding new digital marketing and content marketing tools.
I would highly recommend using the WordPress SEO Yoast plugin, which you can easily download from the Plugin area in your dashboard. Once you have it it allows you to rank your content against a host of SEO best practices. Here’s an example from this article, which is being measured against the keyword phrase of “duplicate content.”
So the analysis is quite helpful and can help us update and create better content. I use it all the time when writing from a desktop browser and wish there was a version in the WordPress mobile app so I could use it when writing from my iPhone.
Something else to read:
Once you scroll down and get to Advanced Settings in the Yoast plugin, you can set a canonical URL:
You can simply add the URL of:
- Another internal page (yes, pages on the same site can compete with each other for the same keyword)
- An external website
Where ever the original content is hosted.
So it’s quite easy and a 2-second process really. Copy the other URL, paste in it. Done.
I was glad to see this improvement to the Yoast app and will keep it in mind to use when relevant.
In personal news, I was listed as a top 50 content marketing influencers to follow…