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I recently changed my permalink structure on Wordpress to remove the year and month from the URL.

Old structure - http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2012/10/mtech-lite-retain-barc-regulars-for-winter-series/

New structure - http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/mtech-lite-retain-barc-regulars-for-winter-series/

I have a canonical that has the new structure in the URL but google Webmaster tool is flagging up duplicate meta descriptions and title tags.

Currently it is telling me that I have 9000+ duplicates but obviously the pages are the same thing and there is only one instance of this.

Should I worry about this or is this something that will naturally correct itself over time?

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Normally this is handled automatically by WordPress but I would check a few things to make sure:

  1. When you type of old URL are you redirected to the new one? Or do you see the same content via two URLs?
  2. If you are redirected, make sure that the redirect is a 301 Permanant One.
  3. If you are not redirected, the page needs a canonical tag to tell Google which is the official URL. Look at the generated source code to see if you find a:

    <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/mtech-lite-retain-barc-regulars-for-winter-series/">

    If the canonical is missing and you are not redirected, you have something to fix.

Now, if Wordpress handled it correctly, why is it broken? you may ask. The answer is that Google just did not get around to seeing all you pages with the new structure and seeing the old ones (with a redirect or canonical) and updating their index. This just takes time and many be a few weeks to even months, depending on the size and crawling frequency on your site.

The bottom line is that you should only worry about duplicates if you actually have some, which in your case is not true.

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Thanks, I've double checked everything and there is a 301 in place for the redirect and canonical too so looks like its just a hangover from the indexing. Will await and see as I've done all I can do –  Vince Pettit Mar 14 '13 at 9:41
    
Just checked my webmaster tools this morning and already down to 7000 pages instead of 9000, so looks like it's sorting itself out now! –  Vince Pettit Mar 14 '13 at 10:06
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