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I have a website which used to have 22.000 pages with near duplicate content. Of course, this has become a Panda issue. These pages are now gone from my site and the Google index.

I have decided to simplify the 22.000 pages into a unique page with a query parameter which can take 22.000 values. Due to some category pages and a proper link structure, Google can reach this page in 22.000 different ways.

Of course, this still makes 22.000 different URLs. In order to solve this issue, I have set the page with a canonical URL.

I don't want to spam Google index, but I need to server my customers too.

My question is: can someone confirm that making my unique page - called 22.000 times with different parameter values - canonical is a proper solution to my near duplicate content issue? If not, how should I solve it?

Update

Here is what I mean by being called 22.000 times:

http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html?pid=0
http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html?pid=1
http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html?pid=2
http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html?pid=3
http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html?pid=4
...

In the product_descr.html page, I have:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mysite.com/product_descr.html"/>

Update II

I found some Google documentation confirming that canonical is a solution.

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You'll need to expand on what "called 22.000 times with different parameter values" means exactly. I think I know what you mean, but I'm not sure. –  John Conde Sep 23 '13 at 13:40
1  
I have just clarified the question. Let me know if it is not clear enough... –  JVerstry Sep 23 '13 at 13:42
    
I think this is what canonical is for. Even for exactly same content, right? In the end, you get one URL indexed, which is the canonical one. So you are not tricking Google, and it is not tricking you, I guess. –  Cengiz Frostclaw Sep 23 '13 at 13:53
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The solution you're about to implement, if that can be called a solution, will work.

But before you actually implement or publish it in your website, let me give you some advice (I have a site with 90k indexed pages, and when it was about 10k, we had the same exact problem).

First of all, leave your old pages accessible and 301 redirected to your new pages

Just as important, Inside Webmaster Tools set pid parameter as Parameter that change or determine the content of a page. You'll get explained how to do it here. Do this even before publishing that changes to the production server.

Another thing you can do, which I strongly recommend you, is to build friendly and descriptive urls to solve this. Use your product name as part of the URL. If your in php & apache, you can use .htaccess or programmatically to reach it.

My last advice will be to visit Webmaster Tools for your site everyday, to check for 404 links in Google SERPs and the indexing rate.

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Ok, thanks. How did you get 90K indexed when 10k was an issue? Did you put more info on each page? Did you wait for some traffic? Why did Google finally take your pages? What is the trick? lol –  JVerstry Sep 24 '13 at 6:07
    
As your page gets older and you get more interesting backlinks, and more traffic, as in general becomes more important, Google is more likely to index higher amount of pages. 10k was about 3 years ago, by then we could generate 100k links (10% relevant indexed), now we can generate about 1.5M links (still 10% indexed). We deal duplicate content using noindex metatag, 303 redirects, canonical... also we use SEO tactics to generate unique content (like unique descriptions for same-result searches) –  I.G. Pascual Sep 24 '13 at 7:31
    
Ok, so the 10K pages you had 3 years ago are still not indexed. The 90K are new pages since then, correct? –  JVerstry Sep 24 '13 at 7:35
    
no.. 90k pages back then were not indexed (only 10k were) due to duplicated content, and were hidden to SERP using noindex, canonical, etc.. so we didn't get penalized. Now 1.4M pages are not indexed (90k are), and we use the same techniques to hide those duplicated & not relevant pages –  I.G. Pascual Sep 24 '13 at 7:38
    
take into account that around 500k of those ever crawled pages are in-site searches that are not relevant to SERPs to be considered duplicate content or to have very few text content or produce no results... –  I.G. Pascual Sep 24 '13 at 7:41
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