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duplicate content on forums

12:28 pm on Nov 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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joined:June 15, 2017
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Racking my brains about one thing. Imagine a forum with:
- topic page with list of posts on that topic (posts without other users' comments)
- if you click on a post, you see post subpage with comments to that post

Let's say we want Google to index the post content on the topic page, but Google does not index the topic page and indexes post content only on every individual post subpage.....

- Is it possible to incur Google penalty for having the same posts on topic page & post subpage like now?
- Is it ok to robot.txt post subpage? (doesn't matter that comments not indexed) will it make Google index topic pages?

Thank you very much for any advice,..
3:02 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google has been pretty clear, there is no duplicate content penalty.

In the case of duplicate content, Google chooses one version of the content and displays it in the SERPs. Hopefully, it is the version that you expect. So creating ten identical pages is completely pointless, but will not cause you to incur a penalty.

There is an indirect negative consequence, if you have many pages with the duplicate content, Google will need to crawl all those pages. Most of those pages will be ignored. Since the number of pages that Google crawls is finite, having them ignore crawled pages is a waste of your crawl budget.

Then there is the user's perspective. IMO this should be your biggest concern. If I were navigating through a forum searching for information on a topic and I saw many pages that are all duplicates of other pages. I would leave to never return. I certainly wouldn't contribute. Without active contribution and participation a forum is pointless.

So IMO I doubt that simply hiding the content from Google view will really resolve much. I would work on curating and streamlining the forum, to put the focus on the active threads, and trimming away any content that has no value.
7:40 am on Nov 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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joined:June 15, 2017
posts: 11
votes: 0

True, it seems you're right, we'll need to fit everything in one page (list of posts) and enable users to view all comments on that same page ... which will make the post subpages with comments redundant

Anyone we don't need the post subpages (shown now in Google serps) and it will take some time to improve the page with list of all posts. Thus perhaps, for the time being., a robot.txt or some other action on the redundant post subpages might help focus Google on the pages listing all posts?

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