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Avoid Duplicate Pages for SEO Success

If you are interested in improving your search engine rankings, this one is for you.  One of the criteria Google and other website index engines will ding a site on is duplicate content.  The trouble is, with WordPress, many of us are duplicating content without even knowing it.  But the good news is, there’s an easy fix.

The issue stems from the many, many ways WordPress allows the reader to access a particular page.  Let’s say we innocently publish a simple post call “Innocent Simple Post.”  In doing so, we’ve likely created several different possible URLs:
http://www.yoursite.com/archive/innocent-simple-post
http://www.yoursite.com/tag/innocent-simple-post
http://www.yoursite.com/category/innocent-simple-post

Of course, this depends on how your WordPress is configured, but you get the idea.  Google and other search engines will see several distinct URLs, but each with the exact same content.  Then the power of one page is distributed over three pages.  Better to have one strong page, then several weak pages.  Essentially, all we need to do is tell Google and the others to chill out and only index one page.

First, if you are not already running the All-In-One-SEO plug-in on your site, get it and install it directly.  (This is one of those core plug-ins, no blogger should be without.)  Second, let’s tell Google and the others to knock off all the silliness.  Log into your WordPress admin, click on Settings, then click “All in One SEO.”  Near the bottom of the page there are some checkboxes for “Use noindex for Categories,” “Use noindex for Archives” and “Use noindex for Tag Archives.”  Checking one of those will tell site crawlers and spiders to ignore pages under each respective umbrella.  Pick two of those three boxes and check them.  Personally, I’d say leave “categories” in there as that is the most valuable keyword of the bunch, but there is some debate on that.  Now “Innocent Simple Post” will only be indexed once and its content will be deemed more valuable than it would have had it been distributed between “three” pages.

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