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Google Webmaster tools showing dupe Metatags for Joomla site

     
12:35 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I switched an old MS Frontpage site that was getting decent traffic over to Joomla. Traffic has dropped off considerably but it could be as much a result of stale content as it was the switch.

One thing I did notice was that Google webmaster tools is showing 1 or two metatag dupes on a number of pages. I suspect that this is hurting my ratings in google to some extent.

The results are something like

Folder/widget.html
Folder/subfolder/specificwidget.html
Folder/subfolder/specificwidget.html?limitstart=0


I am using
- SEOGenerator,
- search engine friendly urls,
- use url rewriting
- Add suffixes

Do I need to address this in Joomla, google or something in my metatags (ie noindex).

Thanks

chris
8:15 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Chris - I'm not following. What do you mean "meta tag dupes"?

It looks like what you're describing there is dupe content? Or are the three URLs in question all distinct pages sharing the same meta tag and if so, which tag?
9:04 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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ergophobe

If I go to Google Webmaster tools, Optimization, HTML improvements .. I see

35 Duplicate meta descriptions
2 short meta descriptions
10 duplicate title tags


clicking on the duplicate meta descriptions shows where google has found duplicate meta data.

I think that the problem is that Joomla shows articles in different views. For example an article can stand alone, or it could appear on a category blog page and possibly elsewhere. The problem is that the way joomla and seogenerator are creating the metatags, it appears to be duplicated (The same is true of titles)..

I'm trying to figure out how much that hurts the SEO of the site and I'll have to figure out how to fix it.

One thing that has crossed my mind since I posted is that I can probably set some of the metatags manually instead of letting SEOGenerator do all of the metatags.

Thanks

chris
9:29 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you can write "intro" text that goes at the head of lists and set meta titles and descriptions for those list pages, that should be helpful.
9:22 am on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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the problem may be partly what ergophobe suggests wherein you need some unique text on that page such a way that SEO-Generator can find it and use it (or override the auto generated meta description for specific urls if that's an option.)

another problem may be that joomla or one of your installed extensions is generating links to and serving content to requests for non-canonical urls.
solving this requires preferably a 301 redirect to the canonical url or a link rel canonical element referring to the canonical url.

what is the difference between specificwidget.html and specificwidget.html?limitstart=0 (for example)?
if there isn't a difference in the content served by those urls then you shouldn't really be referring internally to any urls with the ?limitstart=0 parameter string and should probably be handling that in a browser cookie if it is required to maintain a state.
8:14 pm on Mar 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Duplicate titles and metas may be the least of your problems. If what you've really got is duplicate pages, then those "duplicate meta tags" reports are just the tip-of-the-iceberg visible part and your real issue is

Folder/subfolder/specificwidget.html
=
Folder/subfolder/specificwidget.html?limitstart=0

Keep in mind that underneath it all, g is just a dumb computer. You and I can tell that those two strings represent the exact same page, in the same way that "Bill Smith" is the same person as "William Smith, Junior". All the computer sees is two non-identical URLs. If they point to the same page, you have to tell it so.
8:30 pm on Apr 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just an update from my end. I installed a joomla extension that does SEF and also does canonical links. (Not sure if I can mention the name). The documentation is a bit fuzzy so I'm trying to figure out exactly how to make it work.

Supposedly their canonical link fix works well.

I also found a problem with another site where I have a separate menu for the mobile version. It looks like that is treated as a dupe. The simple fix there is to either get rid of the mobile menu or to use robots.txt to not count it.