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Unread 1st May 2011, 04:42 PM   #1
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Default Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

I've noticed that one of my sites has taken a dive in terms of organic traffic from Google and I'm starting to believe that the use of Wordpress tags may be giving me some issues with duplicate content.

Allow me to break down how things look and let me know if you feel this setup creates an issue with duplicate content.

The site in question is a consumers buyers guide for Apple products. The site covers all the latest gadgets and accessories produced by Apple and for Apple producing. The post(s) provide a brief description about the product and informing people where they can buy it.

The site is setup like an old-fashion blog. On the main pages, and every for page that matter, you'll find full-length posts, no excerpts. The reader is only required to "click more" to see the additional photos.

There's 6 full-length per page.

Behind the scenes I use categories but on the site itself you'll find no categories. Instead, I use tags to organize things. I link to these tags fairly often too, for example, when talking about a set of speakers for the iPod I'll tag it with "iPod Speakers" or when discussing the iPad covers I'll link to the tag page "iPad covers".

The first page for the tag is set to follow/index while the subpages are set at follow/noindex.

Since my site displays full-length posts on the index pages and tag pages is this creating a duplicate content issue?

I would be happy to hear your opinions on this.
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Unread 1st May 2011, 05:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

WordPress' structure does not create duplicate content. However, you can use your noindex tags and your canonical tag to ensure the the search engines clearly know which is the primary URL for each page.

More detail on duplicate content and WordPress:

Duplicate Content on WordPress | WealthyDragon

More details on using tags and categories effectively:

Optimise WordPress with Categories and Tags | WealthyDragon

Cheers,

Martin.

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Unread 1st May 2011, 06:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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WordPress' structure does not create duplicate content. However, you can use your noindex tags and your canonical tag to ensure the the search engines clearly know which is the primary URL for each page.
I read both of the articles and I dunno, it just doesn't seem to add up to me.

I understand Wordpress creates different ways to access/find posts, but wouldn't indexing the tag pages with full-length posts create duplicate content?

I look at it this way. Please, tell me if I'm wrong.

Google indexes 6 individual posts from my site. Great.

They than go and index my "tag" pages, which happen to contain 6 full-length posts on each page.

Wouldn't the "tag" page appear as duplicate content since the content listed on it, once again, in full-length form, is an exact match to content that's already indexed in the 6 individual posts?
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Unread 1st May 2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

I get all my pages in the SERPs, if your pages are setup correct then Tags (& categories) are not a problem.

Are you showing the entire article/post on the Tag page also?



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Unread 1st May 2011, 06:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Originally Posted by yukon View Post
I get all my pages in the SERPs, if your pages are setup correct then Tags (& categories) are not a problem.

Are you showing the entire article/post on the Tag page also?
Yes, I am. That's why I worry that I may be getting hit with a duplicate content penalty here.
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Unread 1st May 2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

is google gonna low your rankings if you have penalty ??
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Unread 1st May 2011, 07:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

The way I setup my category page & tag page is:

1) Every single post has a single image that I upload to my host, then create a "WP-Custom Field".

2) The code on the wp-tag page (& category page) only shows a thumbnail image of the "WP-Custom Field".

3) The thumbnail images on the tag page are aligned in a grid pattern, neat & clean looking.

4) The tag page has a unique page title + canonical tag + meta-description tag.

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Yes, I am. That's why I worry that I may be getting hit with a duplicate content penalty here.



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Unread 1st May 2011, 07:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Originally Posted by yukon View Post
The way I setup my category page & tag page is:

1) Every single post has a single image that I upload to my host, then create a "WP-Custom Field".

2) The code on the wp-tag page (& category page) only shows a thumbnail image of the "WP-Custom Field".

3) The thumbnail images on the tag page are aligned in a grid pattern, neat & clean looking.

4) The tag page has a unique page title + canonical tag + meta-description tag.
Do you care to show an example of how that looks? Either publicly or privately? Maybe through the use of a screenshot if you don't care to give away your URL.
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Unread 1st May 2011, 08:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Originally Posted by Abledragon View Post
WordPress' structure does not create duplicate content. However, you can use your noindex tags and your canonical tag to ensure the the search engines clearly know which is the primary URL for each page.
Then it would be damn nice if they'd deliver it, but they don't. They'll send your visitors willy nilly to any of the url's that they think "best" meets the users needs.

Too bad you don't mention the term canonical in your article. Multiple url's for the same content is a pain in the ass. I design my sites with the visitor entering in on the url of my choosing.

Meaning I want google to send traffic to one and only one url for a particular page of content.

Depending on how a WP theme is laid out these "duplicate" pages, tags, categories, by date, by author, etc pages may contain full articles, summaries, or headlines of the full article. This may get a visitor to a site looking for xyz to a page, that actually doesn't serve their needs worth a hoot.

For instance, they are looking for dog training and instead of the nice article on dog training a category page comes up with a link to the dog training page. The visitor now has to visit my site and then realize the page they were sent to is not answering their question, so they need to click another page. Many times they bail. Then google thinks your site isn't sticky enough, bounce rate too high, may as well not rank the page as high as it didn't meet the needs of the visitor so why give them as high of paying adsense ads when we can give those to a site with a lower bounce rate. That's the progression you set yourself up for by not controlling your urls in the search engines.

At the very least if you use WP, get a plugin that keeps those other "duplicate" pages from appearing in the serps.

Yes Google knows how to deal with WP and it's "duplicate" content. That doesn't mean they send your visitors to the page you want. You need to take action if you want that to happen.

Make sure their is only one url for any one piece of content. My way is to develop static sites. They are faster to load to in most cases. Otherwise use a plugin to cutdown on the brain deadery of WP.

There is no pentalty for this "duplicate" content. The only "penalty" is that google might send your visitor to a page that isn't the one you want them to use.

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Unread 1st May 2011, 08:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Then it would be damn nice if they'd deliver it, but they don't.

Too bad you don't mention the term canonical in your article. Multiple url's for the same content is a pain in the ass. I design my sites with the visitor entering in on the url of my choosing.

Meaning I want google to send traffic to one and only one url for a particular page of content.

Depending on how a WP theme is laid out these "duplicate" pages, tags, categories, by date, by author, etc pages may contain full articles, summaries, or headlines of the full article. This may get a visitor to a site looking for xyz to a page, that actually doesn't serve their needs worth a hoot.

For instance, they are looking for dog training and instead of the nice article on dog training a category page comes up with a link to the dog training page. The visitor now has to visit my site and then realize the page they were sent to is not answering their question, so they need to click another page. Many times they bail.

At the very least if you use WP, get a plugin that keeps those other "duplicate" pages from appearing in the serps.

Yes Google knows how to deal with WP and it's "duplicate" content. That doesn't mean they send your visitors to the page you want. You need to take action if you want that to happen.

Make sure their is only one url for any one piece of content. My way is to develop static sites. They are faster to load to in most cases. Otherwise use a plugin to cutdown on the brain deadery of WP.

There is no pentalty for this "duplicate" content. The only "penalty" is that google might send your visitor to a page that isn't the one you want them to use.
But the thing is, I want my tag pages to rank higher than the single posts. In my field I've found that the people coming to my site are more interested when they're directed to a tag page that showcases abunch of posts about "iPod Speakers" rather than one specific iPod speaker. Variety is the spice of life. I guess it's not in the eyes of Google though.

As for one URL and one URL only, I've been reading up a lot on that and I don't really understand it.

As far as bounce rate goes, its high on this site, but its suppose to be. If it wasn't, the site wouldn't be serving it's purpose. It's a buyers guide, we're serving people who are looking for products for their Apple devices. We're telling them where to get them and they're "bouncing" to go get them.
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Unread 1st May 2011, 08:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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But the thing is, I want my tag pages to rank higher than the single posts. In my field I've found that the people coming to my site are more interested when they're directed to a tag page that showcases abunch of posts about "iPod Speakers" rather than one specific iPod speaker. Variety is the spice of life. I guess it's not in the eyes of Google though.

As for one URL and one URL only, I've been reading up a lot on that and I don't really understand it.

As far as bounce rate goes, its high on this site, but its suppose to be. If it wasn't, the site wouldn't be serving it's purpose. It's a buyers guide, we're serving people who are looking for products for their Apple devices. We're telling them where to get them and they're "bouncing" to go get them.
Then use the robots meta plugin to have the SE's index your tag pages and not regular pages or any other pages. WordPress › Robots Meta WordPress Plugins Maybe I should have been more clear on bounce rate. I'm (in my mind) coupling it with time on page. If someone bounces in 3 seconds, that's bad. If they spend 30 and your site provides them with the info to hop elsewhere that's probably not bad.

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Unread 1st May 2011, 08:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Then use the robots meta plugin to have the SE's index your tag pages and not regular pages or any other pages. Maybe I should have been more clear on bounce rate. I'm (in my mind) coupling it with time on page. If someone bounces in 3 seconds, that's bad. If they spend 30 and your site provides them with the info to hop elsewhere that's probably not bad.
I've thought about doing that, but at the same time, many of my single posts rank really well for long tail keywords, so I don't really want to block those.

I guess I'm looking for the best of both worlds and it's not possible.

With similar sites, their tag pages are ranking extremely well, as are their single posts for long tail keywords. I got the long tail keywords, just can't get the tag pages up there. They're indexed, just 10-12-14 pages back. All the other sites though have excerpts on their tag pages and not full-length posts like me, which is starting to lead me to believe that this is effecting me negatively.
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Unread 2nd May 2011, 08:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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Too bad you don't mention the term canonical in your article. Multiple url's for the same content is a pain in the ass. I design my sites with the visitor entering in on the url of my choosing.
Not only do I mention canonical in the article, I also referred to it in my reply above. The bottom of my article says this:

"..So I use the *canonical* tag on each article, set index,follow on my category and tags pages, and noindex all the other archives.."

My reply above says this:

"..However, you can use your noindex tags and your *canonical* tag to ensure the the search engines clearly know which is the primary URL for each page.."

The way to prevent the SE's indexing pages you don't want them to index is to 'noindex' them. The way to ensure they know your preferred URL is to use the canonical tag or set a 301 redirect.

I included a quote from Google in the article - I'm not asking you to take the info from me, I'm inviting you to take it from Google.

Cheers,

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Unread 2nd May 2011, 10:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

I won't show the url, but I can show a basic layout of one of my tag pages. This screenshot is not the entire page, I left out the header, sidebar, & footer which isn't important in this example.

This is the same layout I use for both WP-Tags & WP-Categories. Each block is a thumbnail image that points to a single article (per image) when clicked.

This tag page gets a unique canonical url + page title + meta-description. These things are all you need to get every single page indexed in Google SERPs. Again every single page on my sites are in Google SERPs, including category & tag pages.

I don't see any point in creating a page If you don't intend on ranking it in the SERPs, kinda defeats the whole point of having the page.






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Do you care to show an example of how that looks? Either publicly or privately? Maybe through the use of a screenshot if you don't care to give away your URL.



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Unread 2nd May 2011, 03:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

@yukon - I really like what you're doing there. Is something like that hard to implement into a site?

The site I'm dealing with and talking about here has close to 6,000 posts. I imagine I would need to go back and create a thumbnail and custom field for every post, correct?
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Unread 2nd May 2011, 04:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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@yukon - I really like what you're doing there. Is something like that hard to implement into a site?

The site I'm dealing with and talking about here has close to 6,000 posts. I imagine I would need to go back and create a thumbnail and custom field for every post, correct?
This wp-theme started out as a free theme, I really liked the layout, still I've put a lot of time into the site/theme. Before I ever started with this theme I found 4 hidden links (base64/spam) I cleaned all that up & I'm really happy with the entire project.

If I was you I would look into hiring someone that is great at wordpress coding & have them create a new Tag + Category page that will do the same thing I'm already doing, If that's what you like.

Someone that codes WP all day/everyday could have it finished in very little time. They could do everything you need without needing to mess with your current tag + category pages. Just make a backup first, of the old pages, then swap out the php pages when your coder is finished.



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Unread 2nd May 2011, 10:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

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This wp-theme started out as a free theme, I really liked the layout, still I've put a lot of time into the site/theme. Before I ever started with this theme I found 4 hidden links (base64/spam) I cleaned all that up & I'm really happy with the entire project.

If I was you I would look into hiring someone that is great at wordpress coding & have them create a new Tag + Category page that will do the same thing I'm already doing, If that's what you like.

Someone that codes WP all day/everyday could have it finished in very little time. They could do everything you need without needing to mess with your current tag + category pages. Just make a backup first, of the old pages, then swap out the php pages when your coder is finished.
I appreciate the advice, really.

So I should just be able to give somebody your 4-step process that you listed earlier and they should be able to get it done?

Let me ask you, how does this effect SEO? I know you said your tag pages are ranked, but aren't pages suppose to have text (keywords) so the bots know what the page is all about? Won't they look at it as a page with just images, or is this what the meta description is for? Forgive me if that's a dumb question. Still learning here.

On another note: I set my tag pages up so that they only display a short excerpt and not the entire post. Hoping this helps.
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Unread 2nd May 2011, 10:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

As far as seo, the only thing you need to do is:

1) Unique page-title for the wp-tag page.

2) Unique meta-description

3) Unique canonical url tag

The wp-tag page will be all images, that's not a problem & will still do just fine in the SERPs.

I have a couple of sites that are very similar to image galleries, each page has maybe 10 words per page (zero articles) I still get my pages ranked for my targeted keywords.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddy6 View Post
I appreciate the advice, really.

So I should just be able to give somebody your 4-step process that you listed earlier and they should be able to get it done?

Let me ask you, how does this effect SEO? I know you said your tag pages are ranked, but aren't pages suppose to have text (keywords) so the bots know what the page is all about? Won't they look at it as a page with just images, or is this what the meta description is for? Forgive me if that's a dumb question. Still learning here.

On another note: I set my tag pages up so that they only display a short excerpt and not the entire post. Hoping this helps.



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Unread 2nd May 2011, 10:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Are Wordpress tags the death of me? Duplicate Content Question

Also check out the free seo wp-plugin in my sig.



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