Magento duplicated content issues

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Magento has several issues with duplicated content. Of course, you don’t actually have two versions of the same content in your database, however, in the eyes of search engines, two different URLs serving same content are counted as duplicated content and will cause you lots of problems. The most obvious problem is that your page rank is leaking on different versions of virtually the same landing page. You also might end up with having several versions of the same content indexed which is bad in so many ways.

First duplicated content problem in Magento occurs when you are listing a product in multiple categories. Magento will create several URLs that actually contain the same content such as:

All of these URLs will have identical content but search engines will see them as different files.

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to simply turn of the category based URLs in Magento admin panel. This way you will always serve exactly the same URL no matter which direction user took to find your product and it will be

However, you might actually want to have category based URLs for both usability and SEO reasons. Don’t worry, there is a solution for you here, it just involves a little more work to do. What you need to do is put a rel cannonical on the URLs with category base pointing back to the original product URL. This probably sounds like some sort of voodoo but if you reed about rel canonical it will be piece of cake.

The second duplicated content issue in Magento occurs when Magento puts famous SIDs in the URLs (ie. ?__SID=U). This might result in your products being indexed under different SIDs and again, creating duplicated content.

This issue is also easily fixed by use of rel canonical. Simply put a rel cannonical on all of the products with SID in URL, pointing back to the product’s original URL.

About Toni Anicic

eCommerce Consultant

SEO. Professional gaming. Home-brewed beer. Magento Certified Solution Specialist.

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  1. Hi Toni,
    please help me.I am stack in a problem.I want to add in admin “replacement product” panel as like as “related product”. In product details page will be show replacement product and related product.
    Please help me.

  2. HI

    I got canonical issues in magento platform as you above mentioned. But i solved them. But again i got a serious issue with magento. Google indexed the pages with the orderids. For this time the the same will display with different urls.

    Can you have any idea to resolve this problem?

    Thanking You,

  3. How do you add a rel=canonical on each product page? I’ve tried the Yoast extension and it wasn’t what I was looking for. I’ve recently changed all of my /store/product_name.html to /store/category/subcategory/product_name.html. I’ve used 301 redirects for all of those leaving me with about 10000 301 redirects. The problem is with the categories#/subcategories #/product_id. I don’t wnat to create more 301 redirects for those so I think it’d be best to use the rel=canonical.

    Does anyone know a quick way I can insert this separately for each product into the ?

  4. Craig,
    Google is not lowering your ranking. What’s happening is link hits that should be counted toward are being counted toward instead.

    So even though they are actually the same page, and combined they might have 1000 hits, google is going to consider them as 2 pages, one with 800 hits and one with 200 hits.

    So then when Google goes to rank the “real” product page, that page has much fewer hits than it should according to Google, so it doesn’t rank as high. So you aren’t being penalized by Google, you just aren’t receiving credit for the number of page views you really received.

  5. Toni says, “…duplicated content pages … leads to lower rankings for your pages…” and “…you will rank better if you don’t have [duplicated content]…”

    Google says, “…we don’t lower a site in ranking because of duplicate content…”

    Nothing personal, but I’m going to go with Google on this one. If they say it doesn’t affect ranking, then I’m going to assume it doesn’t affect ranking. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Also, “link juice”? Really? C’mon…

  6. Craig,

    You are right, you will not be penalized for this kind of duplicated content we’re dealing with in Magento, however,

    You do understand that you are leaking your internal link juice value to the duplicated content pages which will never show in search results. This actually leads to lower rankings for your pages since less link juice is passed to every one of them. You also create massive amount of unnecessary pages and with big websites and low amount of quality backlinks, your website might not get entirely indexed.

    No one is talking about any kind of penalty here, it’s simply not good to have duplicated content as you will rank better if you don’t have it. It’s an issue that needs to be fixed.

  7. The SEO snake oil salesmen have pushed the “duplicate content” myth like wildfire. The fact is that Google does not penalize ranking when there is duplicate content.

    Google: “Serving the same content in Flash and an alternate HTML version could cause us to find duplicate content. This won’t cause a penalty — we don’t lower a site in ranking because of duplicate content. Be aware, though, that search results will most likely only show one version, not both.”
    — url:

    While the discussion there is about Flash, he does not say that only Flash content is allowed to duplicate inline text. In fact, he says it quite plainly, “we don’t lower a site in ranking because of duplicate content.”

    The only penalty, per se, is as you said: you’d have two versions of the same landing page. Google does note that this is likely to happen, and only one of those pages would be displayed in search results. Again, though, the ranking is unaffected.

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