By 7 years ago in Google SEO

Did duplicate content kill John Chow

Most bloggers will be aware that John Chow no longer ranks for his own
name on Google
. John seems quite proud of the fact he got a manual
penalty for blatantly flouting the Google Webmaster Guidelines……or
did he?

Yesterday I had 15 minutes to spare so took a quick look at
johnchow.com to see if there were any other issues that might have
caused his ranking to plummet. The results were pretty shocking.

First of all he has a problem with his apache server meaning it serves
lots of pages like duplicate-content.johnchow.com and seems to be allowing
wildcard subdomains to show up the same content as his homepage.
Example twww.johnchow.com and 222.johnchow.com

Next he has the entire
wp-content directory indexed in Google.

There are 2 versions of his homepage.

The homepage and
10 other pages have livehit tagged on the end of the urls meaning yet
more duplicate content.

The worst problem is that every single story is available at no less
than 4 different urls (not counting the category pages):

http://www.johnchow.com/index.php/my-first-post/

http://www.johnchow.com/index.php/my-first-post

http://www.johnchow.com/my-first-post/

http://www.johnchow.com/my-first-post

One story is also available at http://www.johnchow.com/?p=1508 which
is a different type of link again.

A major issue is that every single post has its comment feed indexed
meaning John has about
1100 useless pages indexed.

Example: http://www.johnchow.com/my-legs-feel-like-noodles/feed/

Another minor bit of duplicate content is the random post plugin which
doesn’t 301 to the post properly.

Why does this happen?

Clearly John didn’t intend to do all this, the blame lies squarely at
the feet of the WordPress developers
for not asking for some help from
SEO consultants. Maybe if they paid some attention to the plugins
people were developing they might incorporate some of the features in
as standard.

Did duplicate content kill John?

Normally if a site lost its rankings and had this many issues it would
be a pretty clear cut cause and effect situation. However when you
have also violated the Google Guidelines its not quite that simple.

In Johns case I still believe that he has received a manual penalty
but also think he needs to fix the duplicate content issues, just in
case.

By Patrick Altoft. at 9:08PM on Tuesday, 31 Jul 2007

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • http://webdigity.com/ Nice

    I don’t think duplicate content can get you such trouble. The usual would be that most of the duplicate pages would go to supplemental results.

  • http://hamletbatista.com Hamlet Batista

    Google automatically tosses out duplicate pages. They leave one of them in the index. They explain this clearly on their site.

  • http://xbrain.bi xbrain

    actually is good to hear that john chow is having a good penalty kick by big G.
    he is so rude !!

  • http://xbrain.biz xbrain

    plus, john chow is like a john tucker must die.
    crazy man by choosing his own daughter by the available domain name..stupid evil john chow.
    anyways he just don’t care as long the money is coming in to his pocket every single minute

  • http://dnseo.net/ Astrit

    Indeed, he does not care as long as his traffic grows, rss readers grow..and of course his income grows.

    The duplicate content is definitively hurting a website in the rankings, i have also modified my blog and used a hack to prevent duplicate content, you can see my posts on only 2 different places, main page and in the post page (oh yeah and during a search inside the blog).

    The hack is simple and works perfectly, if you care to know, lurk in the blog and you will find out (dunno tho if it is smarter to say it this way or to give the exact URL).

  • http://navinpoeran.com Navin

    Amazing review!!

  • Mun
  • http://fatinfo.com Billy

    Rather than letting JC manipulate the search engine any futher with linkbaits. It is easier for Google to put the hammer down before everyone starts doing it by following JC’s example. Yahoo is starting to produce better search results now because it does not rely heavily on links, but rather content.