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Why Is Duplicate Content Bad for Your Website?

May 22, 2017 - Fifteen

First, let’s start off with the basics of explaining what duplicate content actually is. Well, duplicate content is content that appears on multiple locations across the internet. It is caused when the same content from one web address is taken to then be placed on another web address, leading to duplicate content.

29% of the web is duplicate content. Bet you never knew that, did you?

For those web addresses that have duplicate content, it means it is having an effect on their rankings and can lead to the website losing traffic because the user and search engines know there are multiple versions of content leading to both search engines and web usersto be confused.

But why?

The user and search engines won’t know which content is the most useful, appropriate and relevant.

Is Duplicate Content Bad?

We all know that duplicate content is bad, right? But why?

Duplicate content isn’t always bad if it’s used in a call to action or in short description but for the large pieces of content, it is really bad. This leads to the search engine and web user to get confused, so don’t ever do this.

Search engines won’t know which version of content they should rank, because both contents are the same. Search engines also don’t know whether to link to metrics on one of the pages or to keep them both separate seeing them as two different web addresses.

Duplicate content means someone stealing content from another web page and using it as their own on their site. This isn’t fair to the user who put this effort and time into creating this content.

Why is duplicate content bad for your website?

Now, for the main part of why is duplicate content bad for your website. Having duplicate content on your website will make the viewers think you have not put the effort or time to create your own content but instead they will think you won’t be bothered to do their work if they purchase your products or use your service.

Having duplicate content on your website shows your content isn’t unique and doesn’t have the quality there. This leads to Google not knowing which version you should be ranked for meaning you might miss out on visitors to your site leading to loosing potential customers.

Having duplicate content on your site can lead to your site being penalised for having duplicate content, and if you end up getting a Google penalty your website could be removed from SERPs all together.

If you can avoid this from happening I would, by making sure there is no duplicate content within your site. Duplicate content is often plagiarism – of blogs or other content. However some sites duplicate their own content, by advertising the same service in different cities for example, and have separate landing pages for each of these cities containing the same content.

Duplicate content can hurt your site. If you want to rank higher in search engines with your content then don’t be silly and don’t duplicate content. Duplicate content can make Google take action by removing your site from SERPs, and you don’t want that, do you?

Where does duplicate content happen?

Most website owners don’t mean to create duplicate content on their site but it does happen but they need to know where this could be. There is some place where duplicate content is often created by mistake:

  1. Abandoned or copied content – There may be a time on your website where your 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 2 versions of the blog on your site acting as a duplicate.
  2. Duplicate product information- This type of duplicate is every popular on e-commerce sites as they 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 the site. You need to consider that if you are the only manufacturer that is selling them types of products but if you are not then there may be others selling the same products online who uses the same description as you. The best way to avoid this is to create your own product description.
  3. Multiple service pages – As I briefly mentioned above, having multiple device pages for the same service to optimise for a certain location or audience would mean duplicating your content and harming your SEO efforts.

How to fix duplicate content?

After you know where to find the duplicate content on your website you will need to know how to fix the issues. First of all, you need to know which duplicate out of the two is the correct one and the save you would like to save because you don’t want to be saving the incorrect one. There are many ways to fixing this problem

Setting up a rel= “canonical” –  A rel= “canonical” is also known as the canonical link. This type of method helps you prevent duplicate content issues. Setting up a Rel= “canonical” means you are telling the search engine to that the page needs to be treated as a copy of the pages URL that you would like to keep live on your website.

Meta No index- A meta no index is used when you need to sort out duplicate content. A Meta no index is used with the words “no index follow” as this allows robots to know this page should not be crawled. The Meta No Index is used when pages should not be included in the search engines index, meaning the duplicate content isn’t picked up on.

301 Redirect – a good way which is known to fixing duplicate content is using a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes the link juice to the other page. This means you won’t be losing the amount of traffic you were receiving so it won’t impact your SEO. This allows you to get rid of the duplicate content issue but to also keep getting the right amount of traffic.

With duplicate content, you need to be able to create your own unique content for your website. If this is something you struggle with then here at Fifteen we offer a copywriting service to give you the best content on your site. If you want to find out more about this service, then please feel free to contact us today!

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