Why Having Duplicate Content is an Issue for SEO

Duplicate content can be a major issue when it comes to SEO, but it's often misunderstood. The misconception is that duplicate content can lead to a penalty from Google, but that isn't the case. Instead, it can result in search engine results that are inaccurate, and it can dilute your ranking potential. Not only does it confuse users, it can also negatively affect your website's authority. When it comes to duplicate content, it's important to understand exactly what it is and how it impacts SEO efforts.

What Is Duplicated Content?

When it comes to duplicate content, there are two main types: internal and external. Internal duplicate content is when the same or a very similar content appears on multiple webpages within the same website, while external duplicate content happens across different domains or websites.To avoid this issue, it’s important to make sure that all your web pages have unique titles, descriptions, headings and content.

External duplicate content, on the other hand, may occur when you unintentionally use content from another website or when someone else uses your content without permission. To avoid this, it’s important to be careful when borrowing content from another website and to always get permission before doing so. Additionally, you should make sure to check the web regularly for any stolen content and take action against any infringers.

Finally, it’s important to remember that certain elements like footers, headers and navigational elements are typically not considered as duplicated content. This is because Google understands that these are necessary pieces of content, which are used throughout a website.

SEO And The Issue With Duplicated Content

Duplicate content is damaging to SEO rankings because it can confuse search engines, frustrate users, and result in lower rankings. Search engines like Google can't always determine which URL should be shown first in the search results, which can lead to inaccurate SERP results. Crawl bots also spend a limited amount of time on each website, so too much duplicate content can waste the bots' time and keep the best content from being indexed. Google states that duplicate content isn’t typically grounds for action taken against a website, but it’s still best practice to limit it where possible. If the wrong page ranks instead of the original, your target audience may not see your content and even if they do, they may not feel satisfied as the page may not answer their search intention. 

In addition to the SEO risks, duplicate content can also have a negative impact on user experience. If a user is looking for a specific page and can't find it, they may become frustrated and leave the website. This can lead to higher bounce rates and lower overall traffic. To ensure that users have the best experience possible, it's important to limit duplicate content and provide unique content on each page.

It can be difficult to monitor duplicate content, but it's necessary to protect the website from potential manual actions from Google. Setting up a schedule to regularly check for duplicate content can help, as can using automated tools that alert when duplicate content is found. Taking the time to monitor duplicate content can help keep rankings high and provide a better user experience.

How to Avoid Duplicates

When it comes to avoiding duplicate content, SEO experts recommend a few key strategies. Firstly, look for any Session ID’s in the URLs and disable them if possible. Secondly, look for any duplicate printer-friendly pages, as they are not necessary and can be replaced with print style sheets. Thirdly, disable comment pagination in WordPress, as this can cause duplicate content issues. Fourthly, make sure that parameters are in the same order, and use hash tag based campaign tracking rather than parameter-based tracking. Finally, pick one version of the domain name (with or without WWW) and redirect the other one. 

However, sometimes the problem is more difficult and requires more effort to solve. In these cases, the best solution is to prevent duplicate content from appearing in the first place. To do this, it is important to understand the Content Management System (CMS) in use, as this can help to identify potential duplicate content issues. Once identified, the content can be fixed using a combination of canonical tags, noindex tags, and rewriting the content to make it unique. However, the content should be rewritten by a different writer than the original, as it is easy for the content to take on an unnatural tone if the same writer attempts to rewrite their own work.

Let Good Content And SEO Do The Job

Overall, it is essential to create unique content and reduce duplicate content as much as possible for the benefit of both search engines and users. Not only is it important for SEO rankings but also for providing a good user experience, something which is becoming increasingly important in the world of digital marketing.

Ultimately, understanding duplicate content and taking steps to avoid it is important for any comprehensive SEO strategy. It's important to be aware of the potential effects of duplicate content and how to address it to make sure your website is authoritative and accurate.

blog author kyle roof

Co-Founder & Lead SEO at POP

Kyle Roof is an SEO expert, speaker and trainer. Kyle currently resides in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his family.

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