How to Setup WordPress SEO by Yoast to Avoid Duplicate Content

How to Setup WordPress SEO by Yoast to Avoid Duplicate Content
Imagine spending countless hours creating a unique painting. When your masterpiece is complete, the facility where your masterpiece is stored makes 2 identical copies of the painting before sending it off to an art gallery. Unfortunately, the art gallery actually receives all 3 versions of your masterpiece. Not knowing which is the original, the gallery chooses a version that actually turns out to be a copy to display. When you arrive at the gallery, you are shocked to see the duplicate spotlighted.

Duplicate content on a website, like multiple identical versions of a painting in an art gallery, can cause the wrong content to be spotlighted in search engine results. Out of the box, WordPress has issues with producing duplicate content. This tutorial will cover what duplicate content is and how to setup WordPress by Yoast to avoid duplicate content on your own WordPress website or blog.

Why Should You Avoid Duplicate Content?

According to Google’s Webmaster Tools, duplicate content “generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

Google does work hard to index and display pages with distinct information by using special filters. If a website has two versions of the same content, Google will select one to display. If, however, Google perceives that duplicate content is being shown “with the intent to manipulate rankings and/or to deceive users,” the search engine giant may make indexing and ranking adjustments in rare cases.

Google’s advice is to understand your content management system (CMS) when it comes to duplicate content. In the company’s own words at Google Webmaster Tools – Duplicate Content:

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.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward – Let the Original Shine

As with the artist’s original painting, you will want your original content to be indexed and displayed by Google, instead of an inadvertent duplicate. The following includes a visual tutorial to help you set up WordPress SEO by Yoast to avoid duplicate content within your own WordPress powered website.

Steps to Avoid Duplicate Content with WordPress SEO by Yoast

Under Titles & Metas in the WordPress SEO by Yoast administrative section, locate each of the following tabs:

  1. General Tab – under the General tab, locate “Sitewide meta settings.” Check “Noindex subpages of archives.” This will ensure that archives with duplicate content will not show up in search results.Wordpress SEO general tab
  2. Taxonomies Tab – under the Taxonomies tab, you will see options for Categories, Tags and Format. The Format “noindex, follow” will be checked. This will tell the search engines not to index a page and to follow it. You will need to make a decision on categories and tags. If you have a smaller site, you might like to choose either the category or the tag structure. When you have chosen one, check the “noindex, follow” on the other.
    WordPress SEO Taxonomies
  3. Other Tab
    • Author Archives – If you are the only author on your WordPress blog, you will want to disable the Author Archives. If you do have multiple authors and want to use the Author Archives, be sure to check the “no index, follow” next to the Meta Robots box.
    • Date Archives – Date based archives are another source of WordPress duplicate content. To ensure that the date archives do not cause duplicate content, check the “no index, follow” next to the Meta Robots box.WordPress SEO Other tab

By using the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin to avoid duplicate content on your WordPress website, you will be ensuring that your content masterpiece will be spotlighted as you intend it to in the search engine results. Were you aware that out of the box, WordPress causes so many duplicate content issues? Will you be using these suggestions to ensure that there will be no duplicate content within your own website?

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    • Meryl, I’m happy to hear that you found this helpful. Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin is a gem at helping WordPress website/blog owners get it right. I appreciate you stopping by and your comment.

  1. Robin, thank you so much for this post! My developer installed the SEO plugin from Yoast and I just followed your step-by-step instructions to actually set it up more effectively. I’m curious if I originally post an article on the Huffington Post (which I do most of the time) and then post the same article on my website blog, is this a negative thing for SEO? I’ve heard that eventually one will not show at all in google searches. Thanks again. Awesome post and very helpful for me. :)
    Beverley Golden recently posted..Imagination + Inspiration + Intuition = WritingMy Profile

  2. I’m using Yoast with the help of Norma and another person who has guided me from the beginning. The setup was easy enough, and now I’m going to go through your wise words and make sure I have all of the boxes checked and the tee’s crossed and the i’s dotted! Thanks so much for sharing this with those of us who are Yoaster wanna- bees!
    Tina recently posted..Phoenix City Light Rail PartyMy Profile

  3. Great information. When you talk about duplicate content do you mean duplicate because author originally posted as a guest post and then posts on his/her own blog?

    • Mallie Hart

      That is one form of duplicate content, Sonja. With Linkedin now allowing publishing, some folks are reposting content there – and it’s another concern.

  4. I know this is really important stuff (even though most SEO tend to make my head hurt!) Thanks for sharing it – falling foul of Google and the other search engines is the kiss of death for many small businesses so it’s always good to be in the know.
    Jo Casey recently posted..The Easy Way To Set Your PrioritiesMy Profile