What Is Duplicate Content In SEO – Can it Affect Your Ranking?
What is duplicate content in SEO? It is having the same content as your neighbor (or yourself!) on your website or blog. That is, the same text is on two or more web pages, whether on the same site or on two different sites.
Do you remember your high school days, a few hours before the return of a homework assignment on Maria Chapdelaine, you were frantically searching on Google to complete your work? Surely you have copied an entire block from a website without embarrassment! This is the definition of duplicate content. Because in the case where we end up with the same text as another page, it is either theft/plagiarism or copy/paste from you!
What is duplicate content in SEO?
SEO comes into play at that time. For the sake of quality natural search results-that is, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Google or any other search engine heavily penalizes duplicate content. This means that a website with too much duplicate content may end up very far in the search results, or even disappear completely from the engines.
Duplicate content on multiple pages of the same site may be the result of human error; indeed, the same content, such as an image, a text or a link can be found on two different URLs of the same website. This happens frequently in the case of using CMS (Content Management System). In the case of WordPress for example, the same articles may be available at different URLs because of the tags or categories applied. We must therefore pay great attention to the parameterization permalinks.
Duplication of content is also often the case of a technical error. It is indeed common to have thousands of duplicate pages in the case of e-commerce sites. The error is explained in particular by the faceted navigation that is to say the multiple filters that allow access to the same product with different URLs. The problem with this kind of case is that robots spend a lot of time crawling the thousands of pages generated by dynamic navigation and this can negatively affects your SEO.
Where do we mostly find duplication of content?
However, most often duplicate content is present on different sites. This varies, from an article too similar on two e-commerce sites, to the resumption of excerpts of a text already seen on another site. Indeed, this often happens when websites hire the same content provider! This quickly becomes disabling because it prevents the website from being high in the search results.
We know that it is time consuming and tedious to personalize content when you have hundreds of products, but it can really save your search engine ranking. If you are a tire dealer for example and you have exactly the same description on your site as on the Pirelli website, who do you think Google will favor? It is therefore imperative to value original content.
There is another possible case. RSS feeds can be retrieved in XML format and are displayed on sites across the web. It is also possible that plagiarism is voluntary! Indeed, in some cases, the content is deliberately duplicated between domains to manipulate the ranking of the site on the search engines and to increase traffic. Naturally, SEO will be heavily penalized. In addition, plagiarism is legally sanctioned when proof of intellectual property is provided.
There are many other reasons for having duplicate content: a site in http and https, a site with and without www, a site duplicated because the development site is online etc.
How to avoid duplicated content?
- Regularly check the URLs and pages of your site.
- If you redo your website, use 301 redirects “Redirect Permanent”; it redirects users and Googlebot to new URLs and not old ones!
- Use “canonicalization”; sometimes several URLs have the same content, but are different. It is enough to adopt the canonical URLs which specify which URL is the original one among several very close URLs. The tag is: <link rel = “canonical” href = “url” />. Put it in the HTLM header of your page, between <head /> and </ head />.
- Check regularly on Google that you have not been stolen some of your content. Copy a few lines of an article from your website and paste them into Google. This will take care of finding the wrongdoer!
- Before you buy content from a third party, state in your contract that they must only write original content. If this is not possible, rewrite all the content in your own words, modifying it seriously.
- Limit similar content. Imagine that you are a travel agency: if you have two pages on two countries formulated in the same way, consider grouping them in one page to avoid duplicate content, or simply rewrite them.
- Use Search Console to tell Google how to index your site.
Is duplicate content your worst enemy for SEO?
As a result, duplicate content does not have too negative consequences if duplication is not voluntary because it is editable. However, Google takes care to identify sites using deceptive techniques to permanently evict research results, a heavy penalty for an e-commerce site!
You can, however, ask Google to review your website if it has been banned for duplication. Go to Google Webmaster Tools for that. You also have the possibility to file a claim for infringement of your copyright on this site.
Follow my advice so that you do not lose your place in search results, and most importantly, write original content. Now that you know how to avoid duplicate content, learn how to leverage local SEO!
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I hope that you now know what is duplicate content in SEO. If you have any experience on the subject we would love to hear from you. And in case, if you have any questions, please use the box below and I will respond as soon as possible. If you enjoyed this article please share it socially and leave a comment below, I will highly appreciate it!
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This is a very interesting article on duplicate content and how it affects SEO. I often see duplicate content when I search the web and was wondering what the real deal is, as I run some of my own websites and want to do everything the right way.
Even though it might not prove fatal to a website, to gain favour with Google, it does sound best to avoid duplicate content as much as possible, doesn’t it?
You are totally right Darren, if you are serious about publishing a blog or website, unique content is a must. What would be the point of copying what a dozen of other people are posting? To be in the middle of them in the searches? It is not difficult to come up with a unique article which will attract readers, and make a name for yourself.
Thanks for sharing your views on the subject Darren. You might be interested in reading my latest article: How To Get More Website Traffic For Free – 11 Simple Techniques. Let me know what you think about it.
I wish you an excellent weekend.
Thanks very much for stopping by H. Erin and for sharing your views on the subject of duplicating content. As a Published Author and Web Master, you are well placed to speak about and condemn the practice of duplicating content. You probably earned your passion for writing early on thanks to your teacher. I am glad that you enjoyed reading my article and found it useful.
You might also like to read my latest article “How To Get More Website Traffic For Free – 11 Simple Techniques“
Enjoy it, and please do share your views with us here.
Just wow. I learnt some new things on duplicate content. Unique content can only get indexed on google. Great post and a lot of things to learn even for advanced people. The technique said by you of copying a text from one’s own content and check the text on google works so well. Even WA’s unique content checker can’t perform so well. I have faced such situation.
Thanks very much for reading my article on duplicate content and for taking the time to comment Saurav. There are many tools to use to make sure that your content is unique and shows you what part of your content is duplicate. I use Copyscape Premium, it is great and affordable.
I hope that you have seen my latest article: “How To Get More Website Traffic For Free – 11 Simple Techniques“.
Let me know if you have any questions Saurav.
Thank you for explaining the problems with duplicate content, John. I think it’s hard to avoid it sometimes, especially when you’re writing a lot of posts. Using the same photo or image more than once is considered duplicate content? I didn’t realize that. Could you use the same image more than once if you gave it a different title or tag each time? That might help if you can.
Thanks very much for visiting my website and for commenting on my “What Is Duplicate Content In SEO” article Grant. I don’t think that using the same image several times is considered duplicate content if you give them a different title and tags each time, otherwise how could you use free stock photos? Graphics that are available for free are used over and over. Personally, I don’t use an image more that once on my websites, but it is just a question of having each article to look different and unique.
Looking forward to seing you here again soon Grant, as I have a few exciting articles in preparation that I am sure you will enjoy.
Great article on Duplicate content. I know for myself it took me awhile to realize I was creating major duplicate content with tags or categories. I am glad the Yoast SEO plugin takes care of that. Since I have been writing so much I use Grammarly premium to check all my content to try to make it as unique as possible.
That’s right Chris, like you, I didn’t know what duplicate was. I used to just copy and paste articles I liked on websites and blog and paste them on my own websites and blogs, not knowing that I was simply stealing other people’s property. Of course, this is not happening now. I didn’t know about Grammarly, thanks for sharing this. Personally, my English is quite good but I use a program called Copyscape Premium to make sure that my content is unique before posting.
I wish you the very best Chris.
Really descriptive and informative. Thanx for sharing!
Thanks so much for visiting my website and for taking the time to comment.
This website is meant for me. I´m glad I found it! I am reaching retirement age so the articles you have presented here are particularly appealing to me. I have recently started working on a blog to earn some extra income but I am concerned about the risk of “duplicate content”. How for example are medical and affiliate marketing statements, that can sometimes be quite long, impact on SEO rankings? I was not aware that technical errors can sometimes create “duplicate content”. I would be most grateful if you could contact me to answer my query re medical and affiliate statements. It would be good to know. My contact details are below.
Thanks for commenting on this blog post Trevor. I cannot contact you direct as your details are not seen below. Furthermore, I may as well answer your question here so that my readers benefit from the answer.
If you have written content for a blog for example, you will have experienced that it is sometimes very difficult and even impossible to find a word or a phrase that means the same thing as the original. In this case you cannot avoid doing some duplication.
You will find this problem particularly exists in affiliate marketing and when promoting some over-the-counter health and wellness products where you cannot change the brand name and description.
Hope that I made myself clear and I wish you a very happy and successful retirement Trevor.
Stay safe and healthy,