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Google search penalty for duplicate content?

     
6:19 am on Sep 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

Say if I have this news article for some person with url:

http://example.com/person/xyz-name/news/some-title-here-for-url

And I delete it, my Drupal website goes to this page after deletion instead of 404 page:

http://example.com/person/xyz-name/news (which is a legit page full of news article links for that person)

Would Google search flag me for duplicate content? If so can anyone tell me which url is flagged? Thanks!
12:15 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Also, Google search console says 70,000 indexed but when I do a site:example.com on actual google search, I see only about 25,000 links indexed on google.

Why the difference in numbers? How do I fix this issue? Thanks!
1:18 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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When you say “goes to” do you mean “serves content from” or “redirects to”?

Multiple URLs serving the same content is pretty much the definition of “duplicate content”, although you kinda have to assume that Google knows a CMS when it sees one, and knows how they work.
2:45 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No, it's not serving the same content just a different page after deletion of the original content page.
4:19 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So it redirects to the new page? Then how would that be duplicate content?

If G### sees huge numbers of redirects, it may start yapping about “soft 404”, but that’s a different question.
5:13 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So it redirects to the new page? Then how would that be duplicate content?

It's not clear whether this is describing something that's already been done, or whether it's describing a hypothetical situation... but in the context of the question, it's easier for the moment to discuss it as something that's already been done.

It sounds like someone set this up to redirect a news article page to a category page... by someone who had heard that it's not a good idea to redirect missing article pages to the home page of a site... and had heard that if you are trying to preserve "PageRank" of inbound links to the page, you should see if you can find another replacement article as a redirect destination... or, lacking that, you can maybe get away with redirecting to a category page.

Is that what's the thinking has been so far?

5:18 am on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It’s a Drupal feature what I described originally. I’m going to change it soon.
2:52 pm on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google is not a fan of soft redirects like this as most visitors may not know why they are seeing a category page instead of the article they wanted. Ideally you should display a 404 error and a message to users so they understand that the website cannot find the content they tried to visit.

On my 404 pages I also include some links to related content (if it exists) and a search box in case the user wants to find something else on the site.
5:31 pm on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yes I'll be fixing this Drupal feature soon. My other main problem is that my indexed count in Google Search Console is higher than what it is in the google search site (site:example.com).

Any recs on how to get this fixed? I last submitted my website for indexing on April. Perhaps I can submit again? There was a software update around that time.
6:23 pm on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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When you say “fixing this Drupal feature” do you mean “changing this Drupal setting”?

Don’t stress too much over anything you see in GSC. I was there just yesterday and was saddened to learn that one of my favorite sites has been scraped again. Repeatedly. Ignorance was bliss.
10:04 pm on Sept 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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it would be a lot useful in order to understand your situation, to check which HTTP code the URL is sending after the article deletion. Google for "HTTP status checker" - there are free tools for that - and let us know.
4:32 am on Sept 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@born2run - just use GSC > Crawl > Fetch as Googlebot. That will show exactly how Google sees your page(s).
8:28 pm on Sept 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google also does not seem to carry the value of backlinks through a soft 404 so get a proper redirect to the new content page or let it actually return a 404 when you delete it. Soft 404's to some category page are not well received by google if you leave it like that for too long.
 

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