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This is a question to the SEO experts :-) I apologize for my bad way to write English :-(

I am developing a web application (with a kind of custom CMS). In my app there will be a "user section", each user will have his/her "page" liek domain.com/user/john/

It turns out that these pages will have a lot of informative content (necesary) in general, but they will change on some basic things (user data) such as name, last name, phone numbers, address, email, avatar, country and some other variables that are repeated throughout the web.

But ... between a website of one user and another, if we want to be strict, more than 80% of the content will be totally the same - Is it a problem if I leave index and follow?

I do not think it's convenient to use re-canonical pointing to the "mother" web that will contain that 80% of information and something else - Why? Because in my opinion, rel-canonica is for IDENTICAL webpages in different URI routes but with identical content - which is not the case, although there is much content equal, but not absolutely.

The content of the user page is very huge, I think it can be like 20 letter pages.

I want know what will be the optimal layout in this situation. I will have many users in the system. I'm afraid that a user page get a beter position than another or beter than the "mother page", or even worst, get the entire domain black-listed or something.

Thanks for reading!

  • Pages for users are often very low value to search engines. They are usually only relevant if somebody is searching for that particular person. You might want to consider using noindex on all those pages. Or allowing a few of them to be indexed where the users have added a significant amount of content. – Stephen Ostermiller May 15 '18 at 12:08
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You're correct that this is not a good use case for rel="canonical" - that is for full duplicates.

I would step back and determine whether it may be possible to have a "main contact page" with all the content you were going to duplicate, and on the individual user profiles, only include the info like their avatar, bio, direct line, etc. that is unique. You could easily add a link at the bottom of each user profile that goes to "corporate contact information" or whatever you want to call it - the "mother page." By linking there you will prevent the duplicate content issue, and you will also be reinforcing to Google by having all those links to the "mother page" that it is an important page on your website.

80% is definitely too high of a percentage of content to duplicate. Not only is that 80% of the on-page consumable content, you will also end up with a lot of source code - Google looks at your overall HTML so with probably 95% of your HTML being the same across all these pages and 80% of on-page content being the same, you're definitely risking major duplicate content headaches. In addition, you've mentioned that there is a ton of content if you proceed - 20 letter pages is probably more than most web visitors would ever scroll through on a single page, let alone page after page after page. If you really have that much contact information you may even need to split the "mother page" up into several sections, whether those are "sections" of one page with a table of contents at the top, or perhaps actual separate webpages, just so people can reasonably consume the amount of information you have on each page.

  • Hello! Thanks for answering. Is mandatory having all the content in users' page. Major of this content will be wrapped in an accordeon structure, so the page will not be "so long to scroll" over it. If I remove the duplicate content, it's easy I will not have problems. But that's not my case :-( I need to put the content on each user page. What should I do? – SurpiLurpi May 14 '18 at 22:00
  • Assuming you are okay with your bios all being considered duplicate content, I would set the strategy of building links to the "mother page" so it is the one that ranks. The bios then will never rank as they'll be considered the duplicates. Link both internally and externally to the "mother page" so Google sees it is a more important page than the others. If I were you, I would also add event tracking on all those accordions and find out which ones people actually use - I'd bet most will go unused and can later be removed. Also make sure they're accessible. – WebElaine May 15 '18 at 13:07
  • Perhaps there is also some additional unique content you can add to the "mother page" so it isn't just discarded as duplicate as well. Even if it's the same text content maybe you can completely change the layout of the page, add some images, add some interactivity, that sort of thing - but especially if you can add significant unique text content there that may help mitigate the duplication just a bit. But overall there's no way to duplicate content and not have duplicate content problems. – WebElaine May 15 '18 at 13:08
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One meta tag that can be particularly useful in dealing with duplicate content is meta robots when used with the values "noindex, follow." Commonly called Meta Noindex, Follow and technically known as content=”noindex,follow” this meta robots tag can be added to the HTML head of each individual page that should be excluded from a search engine's index.

The meta robots tag allows search engines to crawl the links on a page but keeps them from including those links in their indices. It's important that the duplicate page can still be crawled, even though you're telling Google not to index it because Google explicitly cautions against restricting crawl access to duplicate content on your website. (Search engines like to be able to see everything in case you've made an error in your code. It allows them to make a [likely automated] "judgment call" in otherwise ambiguous situations.)

Using meta robots is a particularly good solution for duplicate content issues related to pagination.

But, Another option for dealing with duplicate content is to use the rel=canonical attribute. This tells search engines that a given page should be treated as though it were a copy of a specified URL, and all of the links, content metrics, and "ranking power" that search engines apply to this page should actually be credited to the specified URL.

in your case, rel=canonical is better option

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