DUPLICATE CONTENT: WHAT IS IT AND WHY SHOULD YOU BE AWARE?!
Duplicate content is what it says on the tin. If your website features content that is identical or substantially similar to other content at more than one URL, regardless of whether this is within one domain or across multiple, this is classified as duplicate content.
More often than not, duplicate website content is not disingenuous and the website owner may not even realise that questionable content is present on their website and if they do, they might not be aware that it is violating Google’s website performance guidelines.
Duplicate content issues can cause problems for your website as it may affect how authentic your website appears to the audience, but identical website content can also hinder your SEO strategy. A search engine will choose one source to show in the search engine results page, so potentially your website could be pushed further and further down the rankings for crucial keywords.
Why Does Duplicate Content Matter?
There are many reasons why duplicate content matters, or more specifically, why AVOIDING duplicate content curation matters.
There are three key issues as to why search engines struggle with duplicated website content:
- Firstly, search engines won’t know which source of the content to crawl and include in their index.
- Second of all, there might be confusion with regards to directing link metrics and whether they should be directed to one page or kept separate.
- Finally, they will only show the same content once, but they might struggle to determine which version to show in their search results.
Most importantly, what impact will the presence of duplicated content have on you, the website owner, your website and the search engine rankings you have worked so hard to achieve?
Although Google announced there is technically not a penalty for duplicate website content, the reasons why Google struggles to comprehend duplicate copy mean websites can suffer substantial losses to website traffic.
To ensure the best possible user experience, search engines like to eliminate irrelevant websites from search queries, unreliable sources and more crucially, spam websites. With this being said, Google will only show the same website copy once, therefore it must decide which the best version for the results is.
If you have channelled time, effort and money into your content writing, but have published it on multiple web addresses, you could be undoing your hard work and potentially having important web pages removed from search engine results for crucial keywords!
Additionally, link equity can also be affected when duplicate copy is present. In the presence of identical content across multiple webpages, external websites must choose which source they will direct links to, meaning a dispersion of links across multiple pieces of content as opposed to all external links to one piece. Inbound links just so happen to be a ranking factor, further decreasing the visibility of your webpage, article or blog post in search engine query results.
What Are Some Examples of Duplicate Content Curation?
In the vast majority of cases, website owners haven’t intentionally created identical content and for the most part, it has happened by accident. Just so you are aware, here are some key examples of duplicate and accidental duplicate copy that you might not have even considered:
- Generic supplier product descriptions used by various suppliers on a number of websites
- Printer only web-pages
- Products linked or displayed on multiple URLs
- Discussion forums whereby the original post would be quoted a multitude of times
- Using the same service or product information across multiple website pages
If the website owner has published the same content across a number of pages or in the same instances as the above examples, the owner will be quick to realise their mistakes once they have a basic understanding of duplicate content and how it is a violation of Google’s website recommendations.
However, there are sinister circumstances where the website owner may not be aware of the situation, plagiarism scenarios, for example. To help you discover such maliciousness, there are a number of duplicate content checkers available online, whereby you can easily see if the content on your website appears anywhere else on the internet.
If you have, or suspect you might have duplicate copy on your website or your blog, the specialists at SEM Consultants will be able to identify and rectify the problem. Get in touch today on 0121 552 6500 to see how our SEO and content writing experts can solve your duplicate copy issues today!