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Effect of duplicate title tags and duplicate meta descriptions?

     
5:59 am on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed that Google Webmaster Tools is saying that I have duplicate title tags and duplicate meta descriptions on two pages (/) and (/home.html). I originally thought that because I had changed some wording in my H1 and H2 tags that my site disappeared from Google's search results but now I am thinking that because of these duplicate tags that my site has been penalized. The site still shows up number one when I search using site: I have corrected the duplicate tags. If this is indeed the problem--how long before my site will retain its ranking?
1:37 am on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Duplicate Titles and Descriptions do not cause penalties. They can cause problems in ranking when one of the pages gets ranked and the other one filtered out of that search result. Google may well not choose the page you prefer to rank for that particular query.

If your site has a true penalty, this is not a likely cause.
4:15 am on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Quick question, are the 2 pages, (/) and (/home.html) the same page? If that is the case, then, yeah, I'd say there is a duplicate content issue. Don't let Google pick which page to display, make sure there is a 301 set up. We have an Apache forum and ASP .NET forum to address 301's here.
8:13 am on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi, I am new here...just a question...

will Duplicate Titles/Descriptions have any bad effect, if we use canonical urls on all our pages.
8:49 am on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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They shouldn't do: rel=canonical is designed to amalgamate duplicate pages and Google says it will treat them as one page for all purposes (including PR calculation).

I personally would see if there was a way to reduce or eliminate dupes first and then use rel=canonical if there was no other way.
10:07 am on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Quick question, are the 2 pages, (/) and (/home.html) the same page? If that is the case, then, yeah, I'd say there is a duplicate content issue. Don't let Google pick which page to display, make sure there is a 301 set up. We have an Apache forum and ASP .NET forum to address 301's here.


Yes, the two pages are exactly the same.
12:06 pm on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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My guess is the deep crawl will happen only when the new infrastructure is in place...and then we can probably see the disappearance of all the caching delays...

now it looks like the bots that devour fresh pages are active while the big eating deep crawlers are sleeping most of the time...
8:53 pm on Mar 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you have canonicalization issues which need to be addressed... preferably on the server rather than with rel=canonical ...but the latter is a choice if you don't have sufficient server access.

Is home.html set up on your server as your default home page (as opposed to index.html)?

If it is, you need to drop links to it and link to "/" only, and then use rewrites on your server setup to rewrite all requests to one "canonical" url for your default home page.

See more discussion on this situation, referenced in our Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of the Google Search forum's index page.

I'd read all the discussions on dupe content. This one has particular bearing on your issue....

Domain Root vs. index.html [webmasterworld.com] - yet another kind of duplicate
12:56 am on Mar 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Since I just added this redirect code to a site, it's a simple job to cut and paste it here:

# Index redirect strips named index file, retains path, and forces www
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /([^/]*/)*(index|home)\.(html?|php)(\?[^\ ]*)?\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(([^/]*/)*)(index|home)\.(html?|php)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,NC,L]

# Redirect non-canonical non-blank URLs to www version with same path
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(www\.example\.com)?$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]


Note: add a question mark to end of target URL in both rules to also strip parameters as the redirect is performed.

Link to / or to /folder/ not to any named index file.