I really do learn something new every day in this business. Today I learned that posting a blog post to more than one category on your blog is a bad practice from an SEO perspective. I know not to use duplicate content on a website but duh! I didn’t think that posting the same post in more than one category was in effect doing just that! Duplicate content is – yes you’ve got it – text that is the same, word for word, on different pages. External duplicate content (located on two or more different websites) raises more flags than does internal duplicate content (different pages within the same site). When content is identical on more than one website search engines make the assumption that the original content was copied by a different person. With internal pages the assumption is made that content originated with that site and they won’t be penalized as long as Google doesn’t think they are intentionally trying to manipulate rankings and deceive users. Content syndication is common and means that, in most cases, duplicate content is not penalized. So if you won’t be penalized why does it matter? It matters from an SEO perspective. The first indexed version of an article is typically the one that receives the most ranking points. Google may in fact lower the rank of all your page from what it could potentially have if it were a standalone page. Good SEO blogging practice:
- When you write a blog post only post it to one category. Thanks to tags you don’t need to post to more than one category. You can use multiple tags for each individual post. Allowing visitors to browse your blog by tag prevents duplicate content problems.
- Use the “Excerpt” properly. Don’t just grab the first paragraph from your post and paste it in verbatim. WordPress says “Excerpts are optional hand-crafted summaries of your content”. So take the time to write an excerpt that is unique text
- Google’s Webmaster Guidelines says to consider blocking some pages from indexing. There are certain pages in your WordPress blog that should not be indexed. Use a robot.txt file to prevent search engines from crawling and indexing your archives and any other pages in your theme that display duplicate content. This practice will prevent duplicate content pages from ranking higher than and potentially devaluing the blog posts themselves.
Last but not least, use the All in One SEO Pack. By design it avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs.
If you liked this post or have other SEO tips for WordPress blogging, please leave me a comment.