|"Almost" duplicate titles penalty|
Got lots of help here, but now wondering...
Yet another post about the duplicate content issues!
In my case, its not multiple pages of the same content, but numerous pages of different content with almost-the-same titles and meta desc tags, along with a few nav links and misc content repeated on every page.
I am cleaning up these issues, but confused about the best way to finish the process. Should I remove those urls marked supplemental (G removal tool + NOINDEX meta) and get back to a *cleaner* indexing of my site, hopefully with penalties removed? OR should I keep the offending urls, now in their cleaned-up state, for an eventual deep crawl and reindexing of the corrected site? It seems like the second choice might take quite awhile.
I am guessing that if I remove the supplemental urls for now, I can gradually bring them back (albeit in their corrected form) via my site maps over several months. Does that make sense?
The only thing you can do is remove the cause for the duplicates. The url (plus its cached date) may stay in Google's index for up to a year or so. If you fixed the source of the problem, this is not doing you any damage. The removal tool will not remove a supplemental result.
Normally "duplicate" urls only causes one of them to be filtered out of search results -- this is not, strictly speaking, a penalty.
I assume you've studied these threads:
Supplemental Results - what exactly are they? [webmasterworld.com]
Duplicate Content - get it right or perish [webmasterworld.com]
Yes, I did read those threads, more than once. But your post leads me to believe that I may be following the wrong conclusions. I interpretted a sudden fall in my rankings (200-300 places) as linked to the sudden increase in supplementals that Google shows for my site this week, and I jumped to the conclusion that very-similiar titles and metas were causing a duplicate page penalty.
Guess I got it wrong. I'll go back to those threads you recommended.
Thank you again.
We were penalized for 3 months earlier this year and one of the main contributors was similar titles. We did a "quick fix" by going through and changing all of the page titles and nothing else. That got the penalty removed.
Now we are going back and getting the content "right". A lot of work but has to be done. Titles, h tags, descriptions, text, etc. It is taking us about a half hour per page. Only 1000 pages to go. :)
We have also recovered "supplemental pages" by improving the content.
Quick question, why would robots.txt show up as a supplemental result? Thats probably the most unique page to the site.
"I interpretted a sudden fall in my rankings (200-300 places) as linked to the sudden increase in supplementals that Google shows for my site this week, and I jumped to the conclusion that very-similiar titles and metas were causing a duplicate page penalty. Guess I got it wrong."
Huh? You originally interpreted it right. This happens all the time.
I don't know what you are thinking now, but cleaning up those near duplicates is a task you should get right on. They will kill your rankings. You are stuck with the supplementals poisoning your rankings indefinitely but you can just do what you can do to fix things. Eventually the pages will be reindexed without the near-dupe content and the supplementals will disappear, but that will probably be awhile.
Yes, I'm cleaning the titles and metas. What I didn't understand was wether it would be better to remove the offending urls, even tho a copy would stay in the supplemental index for a year or so.
I was thinking of relacing them with "new" pages that would contain the same conrent, but without the problem titles and metas. The replacement pages would have an entirely different url.
My understanding, from you and others, is to just do the clean up and not make new pages. G will eventually crawl and reindex everything.
Thank you very much for your help.