Have You Deduped Your Website?

Duplicate Content1 Have You Deduped Your Website?Google hates duplicate content on the internet. This is why you can’t simply plagiarize a bunch of stuff and expect to get any search traffic. But did you know that your site could actually contain 100% duplicate content? Yes, 100%. This is a problem. It will dramatically hurt your search ranking and if you have a newer site it could keep you from getting a piece of Google’s limelight.

So, what’s the deal here? The deal is that http://example.com and http://www.example.com are technically not the same website, particularly in Google’s eyes. So, when Google crawls the web it is seeing two websites with exactly the same content. Not good.

If you’re worried, fear not. There is an easy fix. Follow the next few steps are you’ll be gold.

Change Your Preferred Domain in Webmaster Tools

Your first step should be to go to Google’s Webmaster Tools and indicate which domain you prefer. Go to Configuration > Settings.

preferred domain google Have You Deduped Your Website?

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It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, but for my site I chose to keep the www over the non-www since a lot of applications and other things you sign up for tend to use the www format as their default.

Ok. Check that step off your list.

If Using WordPress, Check Your Settings

Just as easy as the Google Webmater settings, check your WordPress settings at Settings > General.

wordpress address url Have You Deduped Your Website?

Create a Redirect in Your .htaccess File

This one is a little trickier. You have to go to your website’s control panel and edit a file in the directory to create a special 301 redirect. What you can’t do is simply go to your cpanel redirect tool and redirect from the non-www to the www site. This will cause your site to fall into an infinite redirect loop when someone tries to visit.

Instead, find the .htaccess file in your directory. This is the file that is read first in order for your website to be displayed correctly in a browser. Save a copy of it in case you mess something up (which would be hard to do if you’re following these instructions).

Add this piece of code to the top of the file. Don’t replace anything in your existing code, just move that stuff down.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^([a-z.]+)?example\.com$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteRule .? http://www.%1example.com%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

Make sure to change “example” to “yourdomain”.

Here’s a video showing you how I did it for this site using Hostgator’s cpanel.

That’s it! You should now see that when you try to go to your website without typing in the www, it will be redirected to the correct domain.

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