Just how damaging is duplicate content to your Drupal?

sales serif;”>Duplicate content on any content management system is not healthy at all for SEO purposes. It is very damaging to the reputation of your site. It is worse than having the same video saved on your hard drive multiple times. You will have a lot of space consumed by the same thing- what is the point of doing that? Drupal being one of the finest content management systems on the planet offers really good service. The clean URL’s feature gives the CMS a great reputation in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is however a lot more that you can do to make sure that your Drupal site is search engine friendly. One of these is to avoid duplication of content. It will enhance your search engine ranking tremendously.

When SEO is carried out properly you will be able to tap into a whole new source of traffic to your site. Ranking well for your keywords will ensure that the search engine hits your account for more traffic more frequently than all of your referrals combined. Sadly, most Drupal sites are not performing excellently due to the presence of duplicate content.

The duplicate content issues of Drupal

Take for instance these two URLs:

  1. davehillmedia.com/articles/drupal-seo

  2. davehillmedia.com/articles/drupal-seo/

Generally on any normal Drupal site that has clean URLs enabled, the two addressed above are interchangeable. Technically one of the addresses refers to a directory and the other is a file. However, Drupal will show the same content for both of the pages. This is beneficial because people are able to connect to either one of the sites without getting a 404 error.

The 404 error missing is fantastic for your website but for ranking on the search engines it is not good at all. Having two pages that have exactly the same content can hurt your website a lot. In the world of SEO practice this is the Duplicate Content afore mentioned. It is something that every website owner must strive to avoid in all possible ways. Some people have reported that their pages have disappeared totally from the search results because of the duplicate content.

Duplicate content can cause extensive damage to your website and always will. At the very least it will lower your ranking on the search engines. This is because the search engines treat this links to your page more like a vote of confidence. As such if the links are separated into two different addresses what you are doing is more like throwing away half of the votes. It does not sound so healthy for growth marketing now does it?

The solution

There is a very simple way of tackling this incredibly common issue. You can get rid of it by redirecting Drupal with the .htaccess file. Drupal employs the .htaccess file to notify the web server on how to handle your URLs. This is the same file that you use to enable Drupal’s clean URL feature. By adding a command to redirect at the beginning of your .htaccess file, you can easily force the server to remove any of the trailing slashes automatically.

As it is evident in the two links listed above, the only difference is the forward slash at the end of the second link. This is such a simple technicality that could potentially be costing your website a lot of traffic and of course money as well. There is the .htaccess tutorial that is available online to help you change this issue.

Basically, the end result will be something that notifies the browsers and search engines that the page being sought out has been moved to a different location- the one without the slash at the end. The user will be automatically shifted to the correct address. All your ‘votes’ will therefore be redirected to a single page and that page will receive higher ranking on the search engines.

Other steps to take

This is not the final task to handle. There is still some more duplicate content that needs to be taken care of. Consider this other example:

  1. davehillmedia.com/articles/Drupal-seo

  2. davehillmedia.com/node/44

These two sites still have the same content. To solve the issue you simply notify the search engines to ignore all content that is contained under the ‘node’ path. To do this, you will need to add a line to the end of your robots.txt file- disallow: /node/

High performance website

Basically, with Drupal you should not have big issues on the search engines. It is designed to be such a high performance CMS but matters like duplicate content make things difficult for most sites. Conveniently this is a very simple issue that can be sorted out in a matter of minutes. Within minutes you can get back to the business of marketing your products and expanding the reaches of your website. You can go back to getting more traffic directed to your site and most of all good ranking on the search engines.

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