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The problem is i have noticed Google have been indexing these links & i worry that they might cause some duplication issues because they are so similar to the real pages.
Should we find a way to stop these print pages being indexed or would Google know that the pages are only for users wishing to print the contents?
An example of the URL is below... each with different variables after print.cfm?
Any advice ,experience or speculation appreciated.
It doesn't make sense as there are very good tools prepared exactly for this purpose.
All you have to do is to separate content from formatting - that's what HTML/CSS is about. Printer friendly page should be identical in terms of content, it should just use different css.
I had a prob with print pages, they were showing up in the index rather than the actual page. Users would search for a keyword, hit my print page, but since the print pages have no navigations links, they would stop there.
I didn't check for duplications, but almost positive it was a problem. It's the exact same content.
And there's an insight in that into SE ranking algos and on page factors (particularly text content outweighing HTML markup content - especially with tables).
The duplicate content filter will simply filter out one version from the SERPS. It's not a penalty, just a filter.