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How can I fix the error "Duplicate page titles" in SEO?

By Guðrún Unnur Gústafsdóttir

You should avoid duplicate page titles on your website because the more duplicate content and duplicate page titles you have on your website, the worse those pages will rank in the search engine's pagerank.

What exactly you should do about your duplicate page titles depends on the page content. Below are some examples and the solutions to fix the "duplicate page titles" error in SEO:

1. Two or more pages with the exact same page title and the exact same page content, but different URLs.

It sometimes happens that you want the same page in two different places on your website. Imagine that you have a product that you offer to your business customers and also to your private customers. Then you might want to put this page into two different locations/URLs on your website.

Example:

  • www.example.com/business/myproduct.html (Page Title: "My Product")

  • www.example.com/private/myproduct.html (Page Title: "My Product")

Both pages have a right to exist but Google will not know which one is the more powerful one (the original), so it will more or less split the link juice (ranking power) for the two pages. In this case you should use the rel="canonical" tag. The rel="canonical" tag should be put into the duplicate page and should point to the original page.

If the original from our examples above should be the page in the business folder, then the rel="canonical" tag needs to be found in the page in the private folder (the duplicate page) and should look like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="www.example.com/business/myproduct.html" />

 

2. Two or more pages with the exact same page title but different content on the pages

If you have two pages with different content but the same page title you should think about giving the individual pages page titles that are more specific.

Example:

  • www.example.com/business/myproduct.html (Page Title: "My Product")

  • www.example.com/private/myproduct2.html (Page Title: "My Product")

Both of those pages have the same page title but they are actually not the same page. So you need to give one page the title "My Product" and the other one "My Product 2". In some cases it will be obvious what a better page title will be, and there might be cases where finding a new page title needs some more thought.

2.1. All news pages have the same page title (News Detail | Company name)

On many websites you can see that all pages with a news article have the same page title

Example:

  • www.example.com/business/news.html?newsid=01 (Page Title: "News Detail | MyCompany")

  • www.example.com/business/news.html?newsid=02 (Page Title: "News Detail | MyCompany") 

In this case your CMS will most likely create the page title on its own and call all news articles the same. This is not a good thing, firstly because of the lower pagerank for the individual pages as described in the beginning of this article, and secondly because you are missing out on the usage of keywords. You should contact your CMS provider or your agency and ask them to configure your CMS in that way that the article name (probably your H1 header) should be automatically set as page title.

Imagine if your pages had the article names as page titles:

  • www.example.com/business/news.html?newsid=01 (Page Title: "MyCompany expands group EBIT to €129.0 Million")

  • www.example.com/business/news.html?newsid=02 (Page Title: "MyCompany gets an award from Gaultmillau")

With those two page titles your website can be found for keywords such as "group EBIT" or "Gaultmillau award". By having more page titles you will increase your chances of being found via different types of keywords.

3. The news archive has pagination pages that all have the same page title

Often you will see websites with news or image archives where you can just browse through current and old articles by clicking on so called "pagination pages" (/news/page/1; /news/page/2; /news/page/3). They will usually be embedded in the same content but by clicking on the 1, 2, 3, etc. you will see older articles or images. Search engines will see such pages as the same page, especially if they all have the same page title. That will decrease their link juice (ranking power) and possibly also have a slight negative effect on the rest of the pages on your domain. In this case you should use the noindex, follow-tag

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" /> 

Learn more about noindex vs. nofollow

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