Recently, I was running a site audit on one of my niche sites. Surprisingly, I’ve got to find that many pages are reported to be having WordPress duplicate content issue, while they’re not duplicated at all.
I was like wondering how those pages could be duplicated while there is no any similar text in common? I spent more time checking those reported pages (mostly Posts) to see what could be the problem. And finally, I found the myth!
The fact is that WordPress is not 100% SEO optimized. I hear you now, but this is the surprising truth! Well, Choosing WordPress to start a blog is a perfect decision. But in order to rank higher and to achieve better SEO scores, you still need to further optimize your WordPress blog.
What is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content in SEO simply means “the same exact content which can be accessed via two different URLs”. Your site still could be reported as having duplicate content even if it’s not the case. Why? Because your blog is poorly optimized.
For example; On a poorly optimized WordPress blog, The same post could be accessed using many different links as follows:
- http://www.yourdomain.com/article-title [with www.]
- http://yourdomain.com/article-title [without www.]
- http://www.yourdomain.com/tag/article [with www. + tag]
- http://yourdomain.com/tag/article [without www. + tag]
- http://www.yourdomain.com/category/cat [with www. + category]
- http://yourdomain.com/category/cat [without www. + category]
So when you create and publish one post on your WordPress blog, it may be automatically duplicated into many versions on different URLs unknowingly.
These links are enough to confuse search engines on which URL to crawl and which to ignore. And as a result, it may lead Google to start penalizing your site for these content duplicates.
In this post, I will show you what are the possible cause of these false positive content duplicate issues and how to fix them on your WordPress site for a better SEO.
How to Detect Duplicate Content?
It’s time to auditing your site and detect WordPress duplicate content issue. There are two ways to do so:
Although it’s not the most insightful way, but it still counts as it’s Free!
Simply, go to Google Search Engine, and type “site:www.yourdomain.com“. This search term will bring all of your site pages that are crawled and indexed by Google.
It’s your mission now to start manual auditing the indexed pages on your site and see which ones are okay, and which of them shouldn’t be indexed.
It’s quite lengthy this way since you’re doing it manually. But at the end, you will be able to get enough insights to solve any WordPress duplicate content issue on your site.
Overall, Let me tell you that the following results shouldn’t be indexed by search engines: Tags, Categories, Author, Archive, SearchResults pages, ..etc.
SEMRush – Site Audit:
Although it comes at a fee, SEMRush is the perfect portal to manage your website SEO for the ultimate rankings. If you really care about your website and want to achieve better SEO, then SEMRush is your perfect bet.
I will make sure to write a complete review about SEMRush and how it helped me to make $1,000+ per month out of this blog later, but as of now, I’m here talking about SEMRush Site Audit Tool.
Unlike the first lengthy method, All you need to do is to put in your website URL on SEMRush Site Audit tool and it will start analyzing your whole site for any errors or warnings.
SEMRush Site Audit Tool is the ideal WordPress duplicate content checker, it also will help you find any other issues that may affect your site SEO.
I simply ran a Site Audit scan and within a few seconds, I got a complete report of the site errors, warnings, and notices to work on. I’ve also got the list of WordPress duplicate content issues and within a few minutes, I’ve managed to fix them all accordingly.
Remember: The first step towards solving whatever problem you’ve on your site is to find where it is first. And this is what SEMRush is awesome at; Finding errors on your site.
WordPress Duplicate Content Issue [SEO fix]
Assuming you’ve got the list of what you need to work on, it’s time now to start working on resolving these issues. Let’s mention the most common WordPress problems below and how to fix them accordingly:
Tags & Categories – No Index:
Automatically after you publish a post, it’s to be duplicated in the Tags and Categories pages. So the first things you need to fix is to set Tags and Categories to No Index.
To do so, You will need to use a plugin like Yoast SEO. After installing the plugin, Go to SEO > Titles and Metas > Taxonomies. And set the Tags and Categories taxonomies as follows:
Unknowingly when you insert an image into a post or a page in WordPress, You will still be able to access it on a separate URL: “http://www.yourdomain.com/article-title/image”.
This method creates another page duplicate and accordingly will confuse search engine bots. Clearly, it will be another useless page which will be crawled and indexed in search engine results.
To disable it, we will need to use Yoast SEO plugin to create a Redirect for the attachment image URL to the post URL. Go to SEO > Advanced > Permalinks > And check “Redirect“. See the screenshot below:
Author Archives – No Index:
WordPress creates another page for Author Archives. This page is showing all posts published by a specific author. I would say you don’t need such pages to be crawled and indexed by Search Engines.
Here, We will need to set Author Archives to No Index using Yoast SEO. Go to SEO > Titles and Metas > Archives > Author Archives > And set Meta Robots to “No Index“. See the screenshot below:
SEO Problems & WordPress:
After completing the above tasks, You will need to re-run a Site Audit using SEMRush to make sure that these duplicate content issues have been resolved.
Any well-coded WordPress theme will ultimately take care of this WordPress duplicate content issue. I’ve been using Genesis Framework for a couple of my websites and It has been working great for us.
Make sure to let us know what other WordPress duplicate content issues you have faced and how you’ve managed to fix them? Waiting for your awesome input in the comments section below.