How To Fix HTTPS / HTTP Versions Causing Duplicate Content Penalty

Today Google threw one of my website homepages in the basement from #1 positioning on google for several terms.  Once I experienced this I started thinking to myself some of the changes I’ve recently made.  Nothing I did came to mind that could have caused this.  Then I checked for php injections and found no problems there.  Then I gave it some more thought and remembered how Google recently indexed that particular website’s homepage with https instead of http.  After some research I found that this does in fact cause a duplicate content penalty.

This is what I did to hopefully fix this issue.  I’ll follow up on the status within 24-48 hours.

Review updates at the bottom of the article.

First I submitted this into my htaccess file

RewriteEngine on

rewritecond %{SERVER_PORT} ^443$

RewriteRule ^robots\.txt$ robots_ssl.txt [L]


This little snippet I found online will serve up two versions of your

robots.txt file; an http and https version.


So the http version shows the robots.txt file you currently have.

Next you need to create a robots_ssl.txt file and upload it to your root file.

Contents of the robots_ssl.txt file:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /


What this will do is block all https: urls from indexing.

No more duplicate content penalty? Did it work? Update coming soon…

Same day 4 hours Later:
Appears my rank is back but https is still showing on search engine listing. However I just checked my google webmaster tools to see if my robots.txt file was recently crawled and it appears the last download was just a couple of hours ago. Ill update this post again once I see the https come off in the search results.

Next Day
Well I clicked online today and guess what, as expected the https is gone and the rank is where it was prior to the shake up.  I even moved up 2 notches on a competitive phrase (which could of been for any other reason).  A good start to a tuesday morning.

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One Response to “How To Fix HTTPS / HTTP Versions Causing Duplicate Content Penalty”

  1. I know a friend who might find this bit of information useful. I never even knew this was possible. I guess I still have a lot to learn about SEO. Surprising I do not find this kind of information on other sites or blogs.

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