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I'm running into duplicate content warnings on my site. I have product overview pages which can be sorted on price, popularity and more. I end up with URLs like these:

www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20asc
www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20desc
www.example.com/products?sort=price%20desc
www.example.com/products?sort=price%20asc

and with paging I get URLs like:

www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20asc&page=3&rows=10
www.example.com/products?page=6&rows=20

Now, the displayed products are obviously different, but these products can all be accessed via www.example.com/products too and then by paging through them.

Would any of these URL's be considered duplicate content by Google? And If so, how would I prevent this from being marked as such? I've read about the canonical tag but am not sure if it's applicable here and if so, how it should be applied.

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For all the URLs where the page and rows define the URL such as this one:

www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20asc&page=3&rows=10

The easy way out is to add:

<link rel="canonical" href="url">

but replace "url" with the URL to the first page and the default row count. In your case, this can be:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20asc&page=1&rows=10">

Just don't place the above tag on the URL it points to or you'll confuse google like crazy. As an extra protection, you can combine the link tag mentioned above with:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

That way, other search engines (particularly ones that don't understand rel=canonical) won't think you're trying to index duplicate content.

As for these urls:

www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20asc
www.example.com/products?sort=popular%20desc

Pick one as the default url everyone will go to and include a rel=canonical tag as described above to the remaining of the two url's above and set href to the default URL.

The only other option is to make content in all pages super unique.

Having paragraphs of similar content with the only unique text being something like "entries are sorted in alphabetical order" will make your page 2% unique if you're lucky and I doubt that would be unique enough to disqualify from duplicate content.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks! I see other sites doing the following: if I search for products in Chicago, that would be www.example.com/products/in/chicago. And no matter what sorting or filtering I apply, the url adds parameters like zipcode, sorting, price, page etc (as long as I'm searching within Chicago), the canonical url always is www.example.com/products/in/chicago. What would you say about that approach? – Joe Nov 19 '15 at 3:07

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