Even the most novice of so called “SEO EXPERTS” will tell you that duplicate content is bad. This is primarily true.
At the end of 2011 WordPress 3.0 had been downloaded over 65 million times. Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WordPress Needless to say, this is one extremely popular content management system. One well loved feature of the WordPress platform is it’s ease of use for updating a website, and keeping fresh content flowing through the use of a blog. While this is excellent for content generation, and SEO, in the hands of a novice it is also a way to have your website penalized for Duplicate Content.
WordPress has category tags, in other words, when you create a new blog post, you can assign that post to a category, which is nice for your visitors, because perhaps they only want to see articles you have written on a particular topic.
SEO companies have made a habit of using these Category Tags as pseudo keyword tags, with the thinking being, the more categories you assign to a blog post, the more likely it is to be seen, and the better it is for SEO.
Category Tags are great for SEO. Not only are category tags not helpful for SEO, they can be detrimental and cause penalties to your websites ranking.
Here is how this works, lets assume you have a blog on automobiles. You write an article on improving gas mileage through driving habits, which is make and model agnostic. In an effort to improve the likely hood of your article being read, you use the following tags, CHEVY, FORD, BMW, MERCEDES, FIAT, HONDA, and TOYOTA. Further more you decided to tag your article in these additional categories, Driving Habits, Performance, General, and Tips and Tricks.
Now lets add these all up – you have duplicate content on 11 separate pages, plus the blog roll, the archives page, plus the link to the article itself, now we have 14 separate pages with the EXACT SAME CONTENT. This does not take into account a lot of websites will place their latest blog on their homepage, so now we are 15 different pages for the exact same content for one blog. Multiply that by the number of blogs you post in a week, month, year, etc and you can see how GOOGLE, and the other search Engines see your site.
Does this mean you should avoid categories all together? Of course not. What it does mean is that you should give serious thought to organizing your content in a logical layout, and using categories where appropriate, and not as a shortcut SEO method.
Tomorrow in part 4 of our series we will look at organizing content and site structure, and what that means to a successful SEO campaign.