It is possible for people new to blogging to get into a bit of a tangle with duplicate content, with pages which should be posts (or vice versa) and pages/posts with the same content on them. What is the best way of dealing with this?
It is generally best with WordPress websites to not have duplicate content, since Google will likely recognize it as such and not rank the most recent version if it can see the same content already exists on the site. Duplicate content can be sorted out by getting rid of the page or post you don’t need and/or using some 301 redirects.
It can happen in the early stages of blogging that sometimes we don’t fully realize the difference between pages and posts in WordPress. Pages are meant to be for more static content that form the backbone of your site, like Homepage, About, Products etc, whilst posts tend to be the editable blog content that draws in traffic to your site through Google searches.
Both are important for websites; however site owners can sometimes end up setting up posts that should be pages or pages that should be posts in the early days, and want to go back and change them later. Let’s go through the best way to handle this below.
Sorting Out Duplicate Content
The most common way this can happen is that a new blogger will put what should be a Post onto a Page instead. Pages are the staple items that form the menus on your site, allowing users to navigate to what they need once they are there. Posts are what make up the Blog section of your site and are the main driver of traffic to your site through SEO.
If you set up something as a page and later realize it should ideally be a Post, you can easily change this. You simply create a new post and copy the content over from your page and save it. This should now appear in the Blog section of your WordPress site and can therefore be found within the subject categories and archives of your site, whereas Pages cannot.
You then need to delete the original page, either taking it offline or sending it to Trash, but firstly you need to check whether the links between the page and new post are different. If they are, you will need to do a 301 redirect to make sure anyone who clicks on the old link page link is directed to the new post and does not get a 404 page not found error.
You can do this by downloading a simple free plugin called Simple 301 Redirects from the Dashboard, and the easy to use interface means you simply paste in the old page link on the left, and the new post link on the right, and the plugin will redirect anyone who clicks on the old link to the new page. See the image below.
The Simple 301 Redirects plugin allows you to take duplicate content offline and direct the old link to the new one.
What If I Actually Want to Copy a Page?
There are actually some instances when you may want to clone a page or post to make things easier. This can be if you want to recreate a certain template of how a post or page is laid out instead of having to build it again from scratch. It can be useful to just clone the page in this case.
To do this you download a free plugin called Duplicate Post, by going to Plugins….Add New, or by following the link. Once installed and activated, the plugin will add a new option to Clone posts and pages when you go to the relevant sections of WordPress. If you press clone then an exact duplicate of that page will be created, which you can then edit as you wish.
In this case you are not duplicating the content in the end, but merely creating a clone of a template of a post or page and then editing the actual content as needed. This can save a lot of time if you have a certain structure or page layout you like to use a lot and don’t want to keep building it from scratch.
See this article for more on duplicating WordPress pages.