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How can duplicate content affect SEO?

August 29, 2023

According to Google, almost 60% of the entire web is duplicate content, and this can cause confusion for search engines because they won’t know what content is the most useful, appropriate and relevant for users. You’ll have probably heard that duplicate content is bad for your website, but how does duplicate content affect SEO

In this blog, we explore what duplicate content is, how it affects your website and SEO and how you can fix it.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content is blocks of content that are identical or very similar to other web pages or websites. It can occur in many instances, such as when a website duplicates its own content across multiple pages, or when a different website copies and publishes the same content as another website.

Whilst there aren’t any penalties for having duplicate content on your website, it can have negative implications for your SEO. That’s why it’s incredibly important to create content that is unique and valuable for users.

How does duplicate content affect SEO?

When you have duplicate content on your website, it shows your content isn’t unique and doesn’t have the quality Google is looking for. This can lead to a negative effect on your rankings and you could lose traffic because search engines won’t know which piece of content to rank first. This applies if you have multiple pages on your website with the same content or if you have the same content as another website.

Duplicate content can also impact your link profile. Because there’s multiple pieces of content that are the same across the web, other websites will want to link to one of these web addresses and this might not be yours if your rankings have taken a hit.

Users may also think you have not put the time or effort into creating your own content and damage trust. It may lead to searchers feeling frustrated if they are presented with a multitude of the same content and can’t find the information they want instantly. With all of these pieces of duplicate content, searchers might not know which source of information to trust.

Where might you find duplicated content on a website?

There are some instances where a website purposely duplicates their own content. For example, to advertise the same service in different cities and they may have separate landing pages for each of these cities containing the same content.

In most cases a business doesn’t mean to duplicate content on their site, but it’s important to know where this could be. Some places where duplicate content is often created by mistake are:

  • Abandoned or copied content – there may be a time on your website where a blog post has been written and you want to repost this. Instead of sharing, people often copy and paste the blog as a new post, meaning you now have two versions of the same blog on your site acting as a duplicate.
  • Duplicate product information – this type of duplicate content is often found on e-commerce sites as they may have a lot of products with similar item descriptions. With an e-commerce site, you need to describe the products that are for sale on your site, but you also need to consider that you might not be the only manufacturer that is selling these types of products and there may be others selling the same products online who use the same description as you.
  • Multiple service pages – a website may have multiple service pages for the same service to optimise for a certain location or audience, meaning duplicating your content and hurting your SEO efforts.

How to fix duplicate content on your website

After you’ve found the duplicate content on your website, you will need to know how to fix it. First of all, you need to know which piece of duplicate content is the correct one, or which one you’d like to prioritise. Once you’ve identified this, you can fix your duplicate content issue as follows:

Setting up a canonical link

Setting up a rel= “canonical” is also known as a canonical link/tag. This type of method helps you prevent duplicate content issues if they occur in the future. Setting up a rel= “canonical” means you are telling the search engine that this particular page needs to be prioritised and shown in search engine results.

Using a meta noindex tag

A meta noindex tag is used to tell search engines not to crawl a particular page of your website and tells the crawler robots not to include the page in the search engines index, meaning the duplicate content isn’t highlighted. You can implement this tag by incorporating it into the code of your webpage.

301 redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes the user to another page. This means you won’t be losing the amount of traffic you were receiving so it won’t impact your SEO. It’s the perfect option to resolve your duplicate content issue, whilst not affecting your traffic.

Need our help with your duplicate content issues?

Ultimately, to avoid duplicate content issues and the impact it can have on your SEO efforts is to create your own unique content. However, you may find that you already have duplicate content issues on your website and you’re not sure how to fix them. We can help.

Our SEO specialists will assess the extent of your duplicate content issues and advise you on the best course of action to fix it. We can also help create content that is unique to your brand, so why not contact us today and see how we can help your business?




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