Duplicate content can hurt your website’s search engine performance, but these tools and tips can help you locate and resolve most related issues. Duplicate content issues frequently arise from URL parameters, site variations, and repeating content between different platforms such as reposting material from a blog to its parent site. Make sure to check out my article about common places for duplicate content.

Websites to Track Duplicate Content

Copyscape is an easy and efficient tool to search the web for duplicate content. You can use the tool for free, but the paid package offers options to also search unpublished content.

Plagium allows you to paste content (up to 25,000 characters) into your search parameters to search the web, news articles, and social media (currently in beta) for duplicates. Plagium is free to use, but you can sign up for a premium membership to conduct larger searches, or you can donate to help them improve their service.

Duplichecker is also a free tool, and this one will allow you to search through unpublished articles, as well as published ones, around the web. It allows you to search 2000 words per search or upload a text or docx file to search its contents.

Tools to Prevent Duplicate Content

301 Redirect – A 301 redirect allows you to have multiple variations for search, sorting, and session ID URL parameters, and you can direct them all to one primary page. This is an easy solution to prevent several different forms of duplicate content. For example, you could have multiple indexed URLs to a landing page that could all be easily cured with a redirect:

Primary: http://www.samplepage.com

Page Location: http://www.samplepage.com/home

Indexed Location: http://samplepage.com

Variation: http://www.samplepage.net

You can set up a 301 redirect so that if any of these are entered in the address bar, they will redirect the browser to your primary location. To set up a 301 redirect, simply insert this code into the index.php file of the page you wish to redirect:

header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: http://www.samplepage.com/index.html”);

You can find more information and codes to help set up 301 redirects, as well as canonical redirects, on this helpful article from Daily Blog Tips.

Rel=”Canonical” Link – A link allows you to send pages with duplicate content to the original source, and this can help search engines determine the primary page for content. It’s fairly common for a site to have several different URLs leading to a page, especially when sorting and search mechanics are worked into the URL. This tag will allow you to mark pages with variations of the URL and identify which page is the primary. It can be implemented by adding a rel=”canonical” link to the section of any variation of an html page and defining which is your primary:

Rel=”Canonical” links only work within one domain, so they are ideally used for websites that set up page and URL variations of different pages. You can find more info on how to set up, and properly implement, rel=”canonical” links with Google’s Webmaster Tools here.

“Noindex, follow” Tag – If you include the “Noindex, follow” tag on a page, search engines will not index that version of a page. If you have a page that generates multiple variations based on session IDs, search, and sort parameters, you can include this tag into any new instances.

“Noindex” prevents search engines from indexing a variation of a page. “Follow” allows search engine bots to follow links through a page, but if this is still causing SEO issues, you can use “Noindex, Nofollow” and search engines will ignore a page variation entirely.

The issue with overusing this tag is that it can limit how much your primary page gains SEO benefits because most traffic is running through non-indexed pages.

Using SEO Tools to Increase Search Engine Performance

I hope these tools and tips will help you make the most of your website’s SEO. Duplicate content can do a lot of damage to search rankings, but with the right set of tools, it’s not too difficult to track and resolve issues. There are several great resources to help you work out your site’s SEO, and I recommend checking out some of the external resources for this article if you’d like to learn more. If you know of any useful tools that we missed, let us know about them in the comments section below!