What is Duplicate Content on my Website?

Scott HarveyTechnical Stuff0 Comments

This one is a little technical, but your webmaster can surely handle it if you don’t want to mess with it.

It has to do with the “Duplicate Content” issue that comes up from time to time, and that confuses a lot of people—even a lot of Internet marketing pros.

Google doesn’t like to see the exact same piece of content, like an article or a blog post, on your site and also somewhere else on the web.

That’s why there are so-called “Article Spinners” that run articles through a software tool that creates hundreds or thousands of “original” articles—each one just enough different from the first one that Google doesn’t see them as being “Duplicates.”

Some article spinners create virtually meaningless and unreadable garbage, but that’s an issue and a post for another day.

What many people don’t realize is that the same issue can arise within your website – even when you are doing everything you can to walk the straight and narrow with Google.

One way that can happen is if http://www.yoursite.com and http://yoursite.com both take people to the same place.  Google interprets that as duplicate content.

Now Google won’t penalize you for this outright, but there are several good reasons why you want to avoid this when you can.  It has to do with diluting your link popularity and decreasing site usability in Google’s eyes, but I don’t want to go any deeper in this already too-technical post.

Anyway, the easiest way to fix it is to do what’s called a “301 redirect”, which permanently directs browsers from the “www” version to the “non-www” version.

Yes, after all the years of being trained that everything starts with www. (or dub-dub-dub-dot as an old friend used to say), the non-www version is actually preferred these days.

Here’s how you do it:

Create a little file in notepad (sorry, I’m still a PC guy) that says this:


RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.(.*)$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]


Save the file on your desktop, simply as ”.htaccess” (you don’t need anything in front of the dot).  Select “All File Types” from the dropdown box. Should you end up with “.htaccess.txt”, just rename the file, removing the “.txt”.

Now you simply upload the file to the root directory of your server.  Look for something like:

“home/user/yoursite.com/”.  (It will be the same directory that contains “index.php” or “index.html”.)

This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s one of those little things that, when you add them all together, make your site just a little more search-engine friendly than your competition, so the Googlebot ranks you a little higher, and you get more clicks.

We’ve seen good results when we’ve fixed this issue in the past – let us know what you see with your site…


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