If you are taking the plunge into the world of SEO content and online marketing, one term you may have come across is ‘duplicate content’. If the terms thin content and duplicate content have you puzzled, our guide is here to help with everything from what is duplicate content to what you can do about fixing it on your website.
What is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is where the same content appears in more than one place across the internet. Google can also flag a page for thin content when duplicate content on a page indicates to Google that a page is of low value or quality. When duplicate content occurs, it could be due to an exact copy being found or it could be that two pieces of content closely resemble each other. Duplicate content is often flagged as an issue on websites and can be discovered by either google or through a website review.
What Are Some Causes of Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is not always the result of malicious intentions. A number of websites find that they have duplicate content on their website for entirely innocent reasons however, this makes the issue no less harmful. For example, sometimes the URL tracking parameters for a page may cause this issue or some other technical problem with how your website content is stored and displayed. Whatever the reason for your website displaying duplicate content, it is imperative the problem is fixed in order to avoid any further problems with your site and how it ranks in google.
Why is Duplicate Content Bad for my Website?
There are many reasons why duplicate content is bad for websites and these fall under duplicate content SEO as well as general user experience. When creating content it is always important to offer your readers something new and of value. If content has simply been copied and pasted from another website, it offers no new value to your consumers and could cause readers to leave your website and damage the reputation of your website. In addition to this, plagiarism of content from another website could lead to action from the original owners of the content. Duplicate content is also bad in terms of SEO and can harm your website in a number of other ways.
Duplicate Content and SEO – Is Duplicate Content Bad for SEO?
When it comes to duplicate content and SEO, having duplicated content on your website could be working against any other efforts you are taking to improve your website’s SEO and performance. If Google finds that you have duplicate content on your website, for example, particularly if it seems deceptively done, google may take action against your website. If there is duplicate content stored on two URLs, google may struggle to decide which page to rank for the topic and the result may be that both URLs are ranked lower with the higher ranking spots given to other websites and content. Even if it is not intentional to have duplicate content on your site, for example in the case of technical problems causing the duplicate content, having this on your website can cause all manner of problems when trying to improve your website’s SEO.
How Can I Avoid Duplicate Content on my Website?
By being proactive about duplicate content you can help to avoid it affecting your website’s ranking potential. By identifying existing duplicate content, you will already be on your way to avoiding duplicate content on your website. Some main ways to avoid duplicate content on your website is to always create unique and useful content on your website, by staying on top of how your pages are indexed and ‘thinking like a google bot’, you will also be able to spot any potential problems with duplicate content to help your SEO.
Finding Duplicate Content on your Website
Many online tools allow you to ‘scan’ your website for duplicate content whilst an SEO advisor should be able to help identify duplicate content through a site analysis. There are also online tools available to check if your content has been used elsewhere on the web without your permission. Many of these require you to simply add the URL of your own content and will search the internet for websites containing very similar content to yours.
A good area to identify duplicate content which isn’t always obvious is for product descriptions. If, for example, your site sells a luxury lawnmower with a long, detailed description of all of the features and things you can do with this product, have you ensured it is not simply copied and pasted from another retailer’s website? Another example might be a travel company showcasing hotels on their website. Whilst the description from the supplier might conjure up images of sun-soaked beaches and cocktails by the pool, how many other websites could have potentially copied this same content with that same description appearing in numerous places around the web?
Original, unique content not only saves your website from being marked up as duplicate content by Google, it also provides your website visitors with an informative, enjoyable experience where they don’t simply have to scroll through pages of content they have seen a million times before. This, above all else, is what will draw visitors back to your page and build up a unique brand experience.
Avoiding Duplicate Content in the Future
One of the key ways to avoid duplicate content in the future is simply to not create any duplicate content yourself. By focussing on key and different areas in each part of your website you will be less likely to create very similar content to what already exists. Whilst other websites may be finding success with a particular article, avoid trying to cash in on that success with a very similar article. Instead, use the unique tone and features of your business or organisation to create a brand new piece of content that speaks to your readers as only you can.
Another simple task to avoid blog content being duplicated on your website is to make use of excerpts. Instead of displaying the whole of a blog post on your home page or blog-holding page as well as the blog page itself, these provide just a snippet of the blog allowing readers to click into the blog to read the full article. Ensuring unique title tags and meta descriptions for each page will also help avoid duplicate content issues. There are a number of processes you can put in place on your website that can help avoid duplicate content issues and improve your website’s overall SEO to ensure higher ranking in Google and put your website content in front of the people you want to see it. The help of an SEO expert will be able to guide you through the process with ease and identify areas of your website that may be causing issues.
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