When your page contains content that’s substantially similar to another page, your search engine might struggle to know which offers the most authoritative source of information. This typically causes both pages to suffer in the search rankings as the relative value that each provides gets divided by the search engine. If you encounter such a situation, review the following steps and make the recommended changes to help your search engine determine the appropriate page and improve its ranking in the results and take one of these approaches:
1. Merge the two pages into one. This is the preferred approach in most cases, because reducing content lowers expenses and makes it easier for people to find the right content. Review the duplicate pages to see which one provides the most correct, relevant, and current information. Work with the other page’s owner to coordinate your efforts and determine which group will take ownership of keeping the information accurate and up-to-date. Update the authoritative page to include any needed information from the duplicate page, then check out “How Do I Safely Redirect One Page to Another?”
2. Differentiate pages serving different needs. It is better to merge the pages whenever possible–less content is cheaper to maintain and it is more likely that the search engine will find the right page. But if it happens that both pages should, in fact, exist—say to address the needs of different target user groups—ensure you update the content and metadata to differentiate each page from the other. For more on this topic, see “How Do I Optimize My Page for Search?”
3. Clearly mark the duplicated page. If the pages almost completely duplicate each other, and for some reason you can’t delete either page from the website, you need to clearly mark one of the pages as being duplicated. See how to do this by reading “How Do I Use Canonical Tags?”
Duplicate content on an intranet site typically can be addressed by working with your fellow content owners to eliminate ambiguity and promote the authoritative page. After determining which page should take precedence, use techniques such as 301 redirects or canonical tags to alert the search engine. Finally, take care to ensure that content targeting different search groups or different needs remains sufficiently distinct to rank independently of one another. This will help your search engine and your searchers alike find the exact page that meets their needs.