HTTP & HTTPS Duplicate Content Problems and Solutions

Duplicate content can really put a dent in your search ranking potential and often a site can have accidental duplication when the site runs on one or more URLS or different versions of the URLS or when the site resolves over HTTP and HTTPS. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix in one of many ways.

 

Checking for HTTP & HTTPS Duplication

 

First up, visit your site, let’s say it is: http://www.yoursite.co.uk. Now, check if you can also visit the site as https://www.yoursite.co.uk. If the site returns on both addresses you may have some issues which can be easily solved with any of the following options.

 

1. Stop using HTTPS on pages that you want to index and restrict it just to your transactional pages such as your shopping cart and checkout. You don’t want to index these pages anyway so that provides the best solution. Make sure you 301 the https pages to the http pages to catch any links or bookmarks.

 

2. Add a canonical link from the HTTPS pages to the http pages

 

3. Prevent Google and co from indexing the HTTPS pages by adding the meta noindex tag on the HTTPS pages. I would tend to insert this dynamically on all https versions:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

 

Been Duped?

 

Ultimately, duplication is bad, so don’t do it, in anyway, who wants to lose rankings, even for a short period for some daft mistake? If this was my problem I would remove HTTPS and 301 the old pages with the canonical coming in as a close second if that is not possible for any reason.
Hope this helps folks and give me a shout in the comments with any questions.
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4 Responses

  1. Hi, thanks for your informative post. I am also having the same problem after purchasing dedicated IP for my site http://www.thetopblogger.com. I can enter the site using both http and https.
    Should I need to redirect the http to https to avoid post duplication issue? I am not a coder and do not know how to do that. Would be glad if you could assist me in some way. Thanks.

  2. Hi,
    I’d be glad of some advice.
    The site has been running for over 12 years, yet hits have been falling away recently.

    I’ve noticed the .co.uk keeps coming up in Google & was wondering if it’s a duplicate content issue & the best way to get around it.
    Thanks

    1. Hey Gary, ill fire you an email and see if I can help. Marcus

      Edit

      Looking at it, you have .co.uk and .com indexed so you want to sort that out. Also, the site returns on the www. and non www versions so we practically have the same site on 4 urls.

      url.com
      url.co.uk
      http://www.url.com
      http://www.url.co.uk

      The simple answer is you want the URLs to 301 redirect to the primary URL + I would implement a canonical tag to ensure Google understands and assigns value to the correct version of each page.

      What web server platform are you using?

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