August 16, 2022 Mark Acornley

What is duplicate content and how does it affect SEO?

If you’ve got duplicate content anywhere on your website you need to remove it or get it fixed!

There’s a myth that having duplicate content on your website can cause you to get a Google penalty but that’s not true.

You’re not going to be getting a Google penalty for having duplicate content however it can still affect your organic traffic and SEO strategy by having duplicate content on your site.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content refers to any content that is visible on multiple URLs, this means URLs that are the same and also URLs that may have small differences but appear to be Spun from the original article.

Sometimes there will be times when you’ve got some pages on your website which are very similar, in these cases, it might cause the search engines to struggle to understand which page should be ranking for certain keywords.

There are two different types of duplicate content

  • Internal duplicate content: This is content that shows up multiple times on your website
  • External duplicate content: This content is available on external websites already and then is used on your website (don’t do this).

eCommerce websites are likely to have more duplicate content compared to service-based websites.

Is duplicate content always bad?

There are always going to be times when there’s some duplication.

Whether intentional or not, duplicate content doesn’t have to mean it’s identical but can be similar.

Duplicate content is only bad when it’s used to manipulate search engines.

Duplicate content happens naturally when you’re talking about similar things, if you’ve got two pages on your website or even more that are quite similar but offer value then there are a few things you can do.

If it makes sense you could bundle them all together and make a power page, use a canonical tag to point two of them to the main page or make them slightly more focused on a different topic.

How much duplicate content is acceptable?

There’s no percentage of unique content you “must” achieve.

The basic advice is to focus on user experience and if that includes using some duplicate content then it’s not going to affect your site compared to copying and pasting a page on the internet and creating that on your website.

What are some common duplicate SEO problems?

  • Duplicate content impacts link equity: Link equity refers to the link authority between sites.  Search engines are not interested in seeing more than one page with the same content and even worse if other websites are linking to different variations of a URL this will mean less link juice will pass on to the correct page.
  • Variations in URLs can cause duplicate content problems: Even if minor changes to URLs are harmless they can still produce duplicates of material. URL variations arise from, for example: For instance, “Websites” can have identical text as ‘Web Sites’, but they are simply printed. To identify URL variants, visit the search engine’s web page. You can configure a domain and adjust parameters to make Google know which URL parameters to crawl and what to ignore.
  • Use 301 redirects to avoid duplicate content issues: A new study shows the existence of redirect loops on most websites, so you should be cautious about this technique. Use redirect links from old or obsolete websites for new versions.

What are the most common ways duplicate content happens?

There are various ways your website can create duplicate content, some times the website owner doesn’t even realise that they’ve got these duplicate problems.

Variations of URLs being indexed

This happens a lot for eCommerce sites. One product can have hundreds of different versions which all get indexed by search engines.

The good news is there is a fix for this, you need to set up a canonical tag where one version of the product is indexed by the search engines and the rest of the pages have the canonical tag which points to the main page.

This shows that those pages shouldn’t be indexed, to ignore it and focus on the main product.

Using multiple HTTP and HTTPS or www vs non-www

Only one version of your website must be showing.

Most websites now use HTTPS: as a more secure method however, the HTTP version needs to be redirected. This is also true for websites that use the www version of their domain.

When making a website now you have the choice of including www or not, which most people don’t as it’s not relevant anymore.

Duplicate product descriptions

With so many products on eCommerce websites now it’s hard to keep track of them all.

There are two types of whys product descriptions are duplicated, either used multiple times on your website and only used by you or for popular products that other businesses are selling and everyone is using the same product descriptions.

Duplicated product descriptions used by multiple businesses won’t offer any value. Sure some websites will still rank but these will be the ones with really high domain authority and huge brands.

Page titles

Page titles are another area of duplication where it’s really common to see sites that have a lot of pages with the same page titles.

For best SEO, you need to give each website page a unique title, if you have lots that are the same

Why should I avoid duplicate content?

It’s not possible for a duplicate website to boost the ranking of your search engines.

This is because duplicate content on websites isn’t a reason for a user to act unless the intent in the material is deceptive.

Duplicate Content Hurts Your Search Ranking

Though the content in the article can affect search ranking and is therefore much less harmful to search results. Remember Google uses several criteria when it crawls, indexes, and ranks sites.

Ensure your website is well-maintained so that Google can crawl your pages more easily than duplicate pages. Do you have any worries about page rankings? Keep your blog posts visible to your followers.

Your audience can promote your webpage through click-throughs, links or shares so you gain the visibility and the attention that you deserve.

Reposting Your Guest Posts on Your Site Doesn’t Help

Reposting your guest posts on your site may seem like a good idea to get more content and save time, but it can hurt your SEO efforts.

When you repost content that has already been published on another site, you run the risk of creating duplicate content, which can harm your website’s search engine rankings.

Search engines penalise websites for duplicate content because it can confuse their algorithms and make it difficult to determine which version of the content is the original.

Additionally, when you repost content on your site, you may be diluting the value of the backlinks that were included in the original post.

It’s better to focus on creating original content for your site and using guest posting as a way to reach new audiences and build backlinks to your site.

Google Can Tell the Original Content Creator

Typically, Google does not recognise the source of the website. This is another problem involving duplicate material. You can get someone stealing your content by publishing it on your blogs and then calling yourself an author.

This is plagiarism. Do you need help with copyright infringement? Google has a reputation for plagiarism. Those who get this happen to you should consider contacting lawyers instead of the Internet.

Burns crawl budget

Google crawls websites to find a website which is new and this translates into a new page. Sometimes they also read a page they have seen and check for change.

It could also impact how fast or frequently your pages crawl your site. It’s bad because it could result in delays in searching for a new page.

Undesirable or unfriendly URLs in search results

Imagine you’d find that the same page has three URLs – the first would appear in the search results but Google might be wrong about it.

Occasionally a malicious URL will appear on your browser. As people may not click a URL, they will likely not see your website as attractive.

How to fix duplicate content issues?

There’s two main ways to fix duplicate content issues.

Using a Rel=”canonical” tag

A possible method to remove duplicated information is to use the rel =canonical attribute.

The search engine can treat the page like an image from a URL, and the search engine can assign any of the links, content metrics or ranking powers that are applied to this page to the specific URL.

The rel=”canonical” attribute is an HTML head for a web page that appears this: The real =Canonical attribute should also include “URL FROM ORIGINAL PAGE”. Be careful of your quotation marks.

Use 301 redirects

It may be best to use 301 redirects to remove duplicate content.

The combination of multiple pages with potential ranking opportunities not only stops competition but also increases relevancy and popularity. This improves the rankings of correct pages.

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