Does selecting multiple categories on a blog post constitute duplicate content?

by dmag1
35 replies
Hi,

Had a guy today tell me to choose only category for each blog post, as designating two or more is a duplicate content issue. I had never heard this before and couldn't wait to come back to WF to find out.

Yay or nay?

I commonly use two or more and prominently feature categories; but do not use tag clouds.

Am I messing up here?

Thanks.
#blog #categories #constitute #content #duplicate #duplicate content #multiple #post #selecting
  • Profile picture of the author snidge
    If you think about it, it's not like you're posting it multiple times. Just linking to it from different locations. It's not like Google is finding multiple versions of it on the net because it is listed in multiple categories.
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  • Profile picture of the author dmag1
    Thanks!

    I'm so glad I'm on WF. The response factor is terrific.
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  • Profile picture of the author Louis Raven
    Yes this is duplicate content (on the same domain).

    Yes Google has been known to penalize for it.

    Know what? Fxxx Google and go with making your visitors feel at home. We all have duplicate content one way or another and trying to avoid it with things like blogs and forums will give you a headache.

    Same URL Example?..
    URL 1

    URL 2
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  • Profile picture of the author SuzanneH
    I just had a look at my site. I took one post that is in two categories, nutrition and health. If I look at the list of posts in the nutrition category and then in the health category, the post has the same URL, regardless of the category page I'm on. I'm thinking they the WP people thought of this beforehand...

    I could be wrong, but just in looking at my site, I'm guessing it takes the oldest category. For instance, the first category I created on my site was 'weight loss' -- and even if I put the post in 5 more categories besides weight loss, it's the weight loss one that will be part of the URL (I use pretty URLs and have the category as part of the URL).

    Suzanne
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Hearder
    Yip, Louis Raven is absolutely spot on..

    the Big G! will definitely view this as dup content..
    Its the exact same content on more than one url (thats how they see it)..

    I never select more than one category per post.. If you want to reference the artucle from anothe category, create a small post (say 50-100 words) that references the other post.. This way you cover both bases..

    Hope this helps

    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      As the post is only on one page - it's not technically duplicate content.

      However, adding multiple links to one page within your blog doesn't seem a good practice unless done rarely. I've seen some blogs and websites where the visitor is caught in a loop of "go here, click there" and ends up going to the same few pages again and again. Not a good visitor experience.

      One alternative is to change the blog post and create a new post from it that more tightly targets a second category. It could be an update or additional info on the first post.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Cosmo Demopoulos
    This is not duplicate content period
    Not technically, not sort of, not at all
    Don't worry about it!

    Use whichever categories make sense
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    • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
      It does to some degree and the same is true for tags. However, Google's algorithms have gotten pretty good at parsing WordPress sites over the past 4 years or so and they don't see this as something done to game rankings. They won't penalize a site for it but they will only include one page with that content in a set of search results.

      You can use plugins like All-in-One SEO or Platinum SEO to control the following of categories and tags if you want.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        But - there is only one page with the content - that's why it has nothing to do with duplication. (My "technically" was a poor attempt to be diplomatic).

        My point was that using it to make a site "appear" larger isn't effective. If you are posting five articles on a blog and putting each into multiple categories (which I've seen a few times recently), it's not helping you. If the post fits well in two categories, link to it in both. When done for site structure and proper reference in categories, it works fine.

        kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Amber_Writes
    Considering that Google will eventually index that same post under the post itself and then under the /category slug, I would consider it duplicate content. And, for that reason, it's a wise idea to block your categories from being crawled by the search engines.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
      Getting some terrible advice here. It is not duplicate content and having multiple links on your blog to one post is called deep linking. People do it all the time with their posts. It would be the same has having a link on your top nav bar and on your sidebar. Different anchor text to the same link.

      I do it all the time and never have a problem. I've got a PR3 blog with plenty of traffic and my rankings are fine.
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      • Profile picture of the author Amber_Writes
        Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

        Getting some terrible advice here. It is not duplicate content and having multiple links on your blog to one post is called deep linking. People do it all the time with their posts. It would be the same has having a link on your top nav bar and on your sidebar. Different anchor text to the same link.

        I do it all the time and never have a problem. I've got a PR3 blog with plenty of traffic and my rankings are fine.
        I've never looked at it that way, but it does make sense.
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      • Profile picture of the author Cosmo Demopoulos
        Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

        Getting some terrible advice here. It is not duplicate content and having multiple links on your blog to one post is called deep linking. People do it all the time with their posts. It would be the same has having a link on your top nav bar and on your sidebar. Different anchor text to the same link.

        I do it all the time and never have a problem. I've got a PR3 blog with plenty of traffic and my rankings are fine.
        Nathan is absolutely right.

        There are very valid reasons to have multiple links to the same page -- this is just one reason. The search engines know this. "WordPress" has absolutely nothing to so with this -- it's just a platform.

        This has absolutely positively NOTHING to do with duplicate content (which people freak out over too often anyways)
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        • Profile picture of the author sylviad
          Ok. Here's one excellent reason NOT to give your posts duplicate categories. This came to my attention just a week or so ago.

          My blog has around 45 posts in one category, {the category list shows (45) posts} but when you click that category, you can only view about 30 posts. So where are the other 15? There is no option to see 'the rest'.

          A Warrior who responded to my thread re this pointed out that posts will not appear in more than one category at a time. So if someone is looking in one category, they could miss some of the posts that are linked to more categories.

          I know it sounds like it doesn't make sense... but that's what seems to be happening.

          The recommendation then, is to only select one category per post.

          Sylvia
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          • Profile picture of the author Cosmo Demopoulos
            Sylvia,

            This sounds like something platform or configuration specific.
            Posts absolutely can and will appear in multiple categories on a blog.

            Ted
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            • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
              Yep, visit my blog and click on the categories, you'll see that posts can appear in multiple categories.
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  • Profile picture of the author jason1uk
    It's not duplicate content.

    i post my article "how to eat cat" under two categories

    --------Pets -->
    Menu ---> "hot to eat cat" article
    ------Recipes -->

    It's just a spider web of links to one single article under one single url example.com/how-to-eat-cat
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
      Originally Posted by jason1uk View Post

      It's not duplicate content.

      i post my article "how to eat cat" under two categories

      --------Pets -->
      Menu ---> "hot to eat cat" article
      ------Recipes -->

      It's just a spider web of links to one single article under one single url example.com/how-to-eat-cat
      Out of all the examples you could think of, you come up with "how to eat cat?"
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  • Profile picture of the author snidge
    Sounds like your theme causing that problem.

    It is NOT duplicate content. Duplicate content would be having it on ezine or another site and again on your site. If you have a few articles like that, Google will just skip it, if you start to load up on them, Google will start to ignore everything you do.
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    • Profile picture of the author sylviad
      Originally Posted by Ted Demopoulos View Post

      Sylvia,

      This sounds like something platform or configuration specific.
      Posts absolutely can and will appear in multiple categories on a blog.

      Ted
      Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

      Yep, visit my blog and click on the categories, you'll see that posts can appear in multiple categories.
      Ted...

      Yes, you can add more than one category to a post, but in my experience, when you go to one of the categories, you don't get every post that's marked for that category - if those posts also link to other categories. So if you know what other category the articles might be in, then you can go there and see those other posts.

      Nathan... (and maybe Ted)

      I see you're using Blogger - I'm talking Wordpress as I think was the OP. Perhaps multi-categories works better in Blogger than it does in WP - unless there's some extra plugin we need to make it work in WP.

      All I know is that all 45 posts in my one category do not show up within that category. I don't understand why, but that's the issue. And that's the explanation another Warrior gave me as to why all my posts weren't accessible in the one category.

      Of course, there's nothing to say that Warrior was right. It's just the only answer that fits, unless someone can give me another way to fix that issue.

      Sorry, dmag1 - didn't mean to highjack your thread.

      Sylvia
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      • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
        This is the blog I am talking about, which is WP: Nathan's Lifestyle Blog

        I think that the case with your blog is posts have been archived and might not show in the category?
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        • Profile picture of the author sylviad
          Originally Posted by Nathan Hangen View Post

          This is the blog I am talking about, which is WP: Nathan's Lifestyle Blog

          I think that the case with your blog is posts have been archived and might not show in the category?
          Archived? Well, doesn't WP do that automatically? How can I control that? Hm. Here's an idea... why don't I go look? :rolleyes:

          Thanks, Nathan. I wondered why when I click categories I get the "archived" heading but it never occurred to me that something might be set wrong. It's better if they are not archived - for maybe a year?

          Sylvia
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  • Profile picture of the author Cosmo Demopoulos
    Sylvia,
    This has nothing to do with posts belonging to multiple categories, unless something is messed up on your blog. It might be archiving as Nathan mentioned, or something else.

    I've checked it on WordPress and TypePress just to be sure.
    I've also started probably 100 blogs and have never seen this behavior.

    Posts should belong to multiple categories when appropriate. Duplicate content doesn't come in to play here either.

    Now if you want to use categories differently on your blog, that's certainly OK. No rule as to how you have to use them!
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    • Profile picture of the author dmag1
      The response to my question has been excellent. Thanks to all.

      My purpose for selecting multiple categories is that many people enter your site from places other than the home page and may be interested in only content within that specific niche category. I've done this myself.

      I want those people to see enough of my work to make a judgment about the site, whether to bookmark it, pass it to friends, etc.

      I look at each post and ask what is it saying and honestly, which categories fit. Some have one, some have three or four.

      The consensus opinion here is that doing this will not incur the wrath of Google, so that's what I'll go with.

      Again, my appreciation for everyone's contribution.

      dmag
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  • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
    I was curious why a lot of themes are designed that way, where as someone's on your blog and they see the word 'tag' in the permalink. Anybody know?
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    If you're using Wordpress it will cause an excerpt from each blog post to be posted on each category page. I suggest blocking the category pages in your robots.txt file using the PC robots.txt plug in.
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  • Profile picture of the author georgem78
    Tricky one, technically it's a duplicate content. I appreciate what "sethczerepak" mentions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Curtis2011
    If the same text content is published at two different addresses on your website, then that is considered "duplicate content" by Google's own definition.

    Depending on how your Wordpress setup works, this may or may not happen. Publishing one article under two categories is only duplicate content if it republishes the text within the article on multiple pages. Just linking to the article from a few different non-textual "category" pages is not duplicate content.
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  • Profile picture of the author NicheSiteLab
    Originally Posted by sylviad

    Ok. Here's one excellent reason NOT to give your posts duplicate categories. This came to my attention just a week or so ago.

    My blog has around 45 posts in one category, {the category list shows (45) posts} but when you click that category, you can only view about 30 posts. So where are the other 15? There is no option to see 'the rest'.

    A Warrior who responded to my thread re this pointed out that posts will not appear in more than one category at a time. So if someone is looking in one category, they could miss some of the posts that are linked to more categories.

    I know it sounds like it doesn't make sense... but that's what seems to be happening.

    The recommendation then, is to only select one category per post.

    Sylvia
    Sylvia..

    either your theme is set to only show posts from the first category in the category array when viewing a category page (uses the archive.php file by default), or the coder left out the pagination links at the bottom to view the other pages.

    standard Wordpress theme behaviour is to show posts on all category pages they are set to.

    in summary.. its hard to explain, but you're wrong!

    also.. it isn't duplicate content, although I guess if you have full posts displayed on the category pages, it could be considered so. stick to post excerpts on category pages and you should be ok.


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  • Profile picture of the author Viramara
    Really??? I have a blog which one post can have multiple categories and deep linking, there are many posts like this. And it survives Google Panda and increased in traffic since Penguin. So, my answer is NO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prideoflion
    I would think it would not qualify as duplicate content as there's only one URL location, just several avenues leading to it.. Most of the posts I make on my website The Rebel Option - Let's See What's Possible sits in multiple categories.

    I do this because there is a significant overlap on some of the subjects that I write about. I think if it was classified as duplicate content, Google would've already penalized me by now.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Hi

    A lot of varied answers. You really need to read what Google says in great detail about this.

    Yes, as you define it in the OP, it would be treated as 'duplicate content' by Google. Google sees two URLs to the same domain, with identical content.

    url/cat1/content.html and url/cat2/content.html. That is the same piece of content in 'two places' on the same domain.

    This is directly from Google:

    Understand your content management system: Make sure you're familiar with how content is displayed on your web site. Blogs, forums, and related systems often show the same content in multiple formats. For example, a blog entry may appear on the home page of a blog, in an archive page, and in a page of other entries with the same label.

    Your "content management system" is Wordpress. Understand it.

    Wordpress creates a unique URL for each category assigned to a piece of content. Adding a category to a post (in Wordpress) adds another URL to your domain with that content.


    Google describes how you are 'penalized' (emphasis mine):

    Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has a "regular" and "printer" version of each article, and neither of these is blocked with a noindex meta tag, we'll choose one of them to list. In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.


    They also describe how to avoid this penalty:

    Google does not recommend blocking crawler access to duplicate content on your website, whether with a robots.txt file or other methods. ... A better solution is to allow search engines to crawl these URLs, but mark them as duplicates by using the rel="canonical" link element, the URL parameter handling tool, or 301 redirects.

    SEO tools like All-in-One SEO allow you to do this with a checkbox. But it is not set by default.

    You can read it in a lot more detail here:

    Duplicate content - Webmaster Tools Help

    Mahlon

    PS Another reason it is better to "Google" for the answer than ask here....
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark72
    This is not the type of dupe content that google will penalize for.

    It's completely natural for a blog post to be relevant to more than one category.

    I almost always put bolg posts into multiple categories and I've never had any problems with it.
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  • Although it's pointing in all directions there is still some great advice here people! Warrior Forum truly is a great place to learn... Oh and the "How to eat a cat" example made my day!
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