User-generated questions may lead to cannibalization,

so while writing in Google Search Site: domain name "certain keyword", I find too many questions and answers URLs targeting the same keyword because people sometimes ask general questions like "diabetes treatment".

So from SEO perspective shall I use rel canonical or redirect questions having similar intent for one page?

  • 2
    Let Google make the decision about which page on your site matches the user's search query. If you find you have multiple pages on your site which cover the same ground, you have to ask yourself why you have overlapping content. Either you live with it and let Google pick what it thinks is the best page, or you consolidate your pages. Jan 18 '18 at 17:01
  • Should be noted that using site: provides sample data when using just keywords rather than the URL, if you have many results then Google will not display most of them. Jan 18 '18 at 17:45
  • Here we close such general questions at "too broad". We require the question to be specific enough that it can be answered in a few paragraphs. The subject of "diabetes treatment" could fill several books. Feb 19 '18 at 10:56
  • We also mark questions as "duplicate" here if they are the same as other questions. That doesn't cause a canonical tag or a redirect but it does put prominent links to the preferred question. Feb 19 '18 at 11:00

There are a couple of options that can solve your problem.

  1. Setup your site so that for every piece of content the user submits, it is evaluated by a real person before it is published online. The pro here is you wont have to worry about duplicate content but the con is more time is required to process the content.

  2. Create filters for each content submitted. By this I mean, have a server-side program evaluate whatever the user submits and see if the content matches certain queries and if it does, don't have it posted. The pro here is processing is done in a matter of seconds, but the con is some bad content might get passed through depending on the "intelligence" of the server-side program that is processing the content.

But if you must have lots of duplicate content, then for speed purposes, I'd mark the duplicate content with the noindex meta tag to instruct all search engines not to index that page. The Canonical tag is one that I believe only Google and Bing support.

The problem with a 301/302 redirect is that two requests are required to reach the target page. (one request to reach the redirect page, and one for the target page). This means longer waiting time for the guest.

Don't get me wrong, I use 301's myself but not for new content. I only use them to redirect permanently outdated URLs to the new URLs of the same page, so I can create convenience for someone who last visited my site 5+ years ago.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.