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Different content - logged in/not logged in

Should I worry about duplicate content?

     
10:07 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,

I guess, this is obvious. But I'm answering a really big client, so I need to be 100 % right: On a page we find content A - if a user logs in, the content changes slightly to content B. Need I worry about duplicate content? My notion is: As SE's have neither username nor password, they'll never encounter content B. (The logged in session ID is handled with javascript, FYI).

Am I correct or mistaken?
10:46 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As SE's have neither username nor password, they'll never encounter content B.

True.(excepting a bug in your authentication process, but that's another story).

(The logged in session ID is handled with javascript, FYI).

I take the opportunity to remind that Googlebot executes Javascript. (but this is unrelated to your question about authentication)
11:29 am on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Well, thank you, first of all. I know, Google has improved its skills on java.And I know, we shouldn't disallow javescripts. But, I was actually thinking about disallowing the specific login script. Would that be safe/beneficial?
5:44 pm on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Here's a slightly tangential answer: As a human user, it annoys me to no end when I find something in a search engine, go to the referenced site ... and run slap into a paywall or login prompt. If content isn't accessible to random users off the street, don't let search engines know it exists.

Yes, Google will sulk and pout when you disallow a script. Well, tough on them. (For example, they grumble that they're not allowed to crawl my analytics code, even though it's a very well-known program, called by its default name and stored in its default location, so they have no reason to think it's anything other than analytics.)
6:20 pm on Nov 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Here's a slightly tangential answer: As a human user, it annoys me to no end when I find something in a search engine, go to the referenced site ... and run slap into a paywall or login prompt. If content isn't accessible to random users off the street, don't let search engines know it exists.

On a page we find content A - if a user logs in, the content changes slightly to content B. Need I worry about duplicate content?

So I assume that the content is nearly the same, and doesn't necessarily require a login. May be the difference is just personalized for the user signing in.
6:03 am on Nov 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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>>Need I worry about duplicate content?

i think you are asking the wrong question, this has nothing to do with duplicate content. it is not a potential duplicate content issue.

do you actually mean: should you be worried that users see different content to googlebot?
10:26 am on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@justpassing "So I assume that the content is nearly the same, and doesn't necessarily require a login. May be the difference is just personalized for the user signing in."
No, the content change requires a login. If no login, the content remains static.

@topr8 "think you are asking the wrong question, this has nothing to do with duplicate content. it is not a potential duplicate content issue. do you actually mean: should you be worried that users see different content to googlebot?"
No, I actually worry, if it safe to assume that SEs won't ever encounter content B, as SEs can't login?
When the user logs in, we do want the content to change.
5:06 pm on Nov 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The question is, how much does it change? topr8's point is that this is not a "duplicate content" issue--it's all happening at the same URL--but a "cloaking" issue, where humans are shown different content from what search engines see. But if the only humans who see different or additional content are logged-in humans, then it's not really cloaking, since you're primarily talking about humans who have never been there before* and therefore wouldn't be logging in anyway.


* Maybe. I've noticed a surprising number of repeat visitors who come back via a search engine, even if their previous visit was only an hour earlier, as if browser history is yet another thing that humans have forgotten how to use.
8:26 am on Nov 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ahhhh, that's an interesting approach. And I'm sorry to hear the term cloaking used! But I do see the point. No: no cloaking! The content change consists only of the addition of a few details, which are not shown to the public eye, but only to our registered users. I wasn't clear enough on that from the beginning.
5:12 am on Nov 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If you want that hidden (logged in stuff) to remain pristine then you can't let g see it.

BUT, and take this to the bank, g MIGHT consider this cloaked. You need to be more specific as in setting up a paywall for that ADDITIONAL content.

That said, if the visitor is using Chrome, your hidden stuff will be found as that browser reports home.
8:44 am on Nov 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I do take your point. But, then any site, which requires a login, Facebook, gmail itself, some webshops require a login to see prices and purchase, is a potential cloaker. Or? They/we deliver a service, which a user must login to use. Nothing that never was seen before. Hence I don't see the deceptive element.
7:12 pm on Nov 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has G ever said, anywhere, that showing different/additional content to logged-in users only counts as cloaking? The idea behind the “cloaking” issue is that if people click a search-engine link, they should see what the search engine saw, because otherwise the site has been deceptive. Seems to me it’s only cloaking if non-logged-in users also get served different content than what you showed to the search-engine robot.

At the risk of topic drift: Setting aside the issue of entire pages that require a login to be seen at all (not because I don't think it's important but because it's a whole nother issue), there are potentially three kinds of content
1. what the search engine sees
2. what the non-logged-in user sees
3. what the logged-in user sees
If #1 is significantly different from both #2 and #3, that's cloaking. And then you can argue about whether #1 should match #2 or whether it's OK to match #3 instead.
9:41 am on Nov 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"If #1 is significantly different from both #2 and #3, that's cloaking."

Great contribution. As we're not even close to this situationen, I'm now officially unconcerned about this topic. And, I won't be concerned with duplicate content, either. As I now feel assured, even if SE's should encounter content B, the changes are so miniscule, they either wouldn't care or even notice.

Thanks for all your input!