How does duplicate Content affect my SEO? A question on most website owners’ minds. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, duplicate Content can ruin your ranking on the SERPs. So, how does the same Content affect your SEO? It can compromise the visibility of your website. This is because search engines will have a difficult time deciding which Content to show the users.
Read on to learn more.
How Does Duplicate Content Affect My SEO
What is Duplicate Content?
It refers to blocks of Content (word-for-word) that appear on another website. Your site could also have near-duplicate Content with a few minor differences. Generally, there’re two types of duplicate Content – internal and external duplicates. For internal duplicate Content, the information features on the same website. On the other hand, Cross-domains appear when the search engines index two pages.
When duplicate content is unintentional, Google doesn’t impose a penalty. But regardless of the person who produced the Content, the original copy may not appear on the SERPs. Other ways duplicate content occur are:
HTTPS vs. HTTP
If your website maintains identical versions of HTTP and HTTPS, you can run into a duplicate content issue. Likewise, if your web pages have a different version at www, Goggle could recognize them as duplicates. To avoid content duplication, you should ensure your pages have a unique Meta description. And make sure the H1, H2, and H3 are unique.
The URL parameters like the analytics code and click-tracking can result in duplicate content issues. It’s even a bigger problem if the parameters appear on the URL itself. If you’ve been on the lookout, any visitor who comes to your website is assigned an ID stored in the URL. For this reason, you should avoid adding alternative versions of the URLs.
If your website has two URLs, you have to choose between the two variations.
How Does Duplicate Content Affect my SEO?
Google uses complex algorithms to determine the page to index. If two web pages appear the same, Google will index one while the other is returned for a given keyword. Likewise, if two websites have the same metadata, one is thrown off. Do you get the picture? Let’s look at how this can affect your SEO.
Less Organic Traffic
Google refuses to post Content copied from other pages. If three pages have similar Content, Google isn’t sure which one is original. This means all the websites will struggle to rank. And your crawl budget is wasted for duplicate Content.
This happens when Google is sure you’ve scraped Content from other websites. You don’t have to worry about a penalty if you have a few duplicate pages on your website. But again, the search engine won’t know which page to keep.
Duplicate Content and Product Reviews
Most eCommerce companies have a challenge creating product descriptions – it takes time to review them. Since the specifications and features of a product are the same, Google can detect them as duplicates. If you’re examining a car, you expect the color and size of a specific model to appear the same. To be on the safe side, you should utilize web design elements to create unique descriptions.
External Content duplicate issues
If you have valuable content on your website, other users can duplicate and publish it on their site. As flattering as this may be, your SEO ranking will be compromised. Here is how duplicate Content can occur naturally.
With content syndication, another website publishes Content that appeared in your blog. But again, this is something you voluntarily share on another site. From an SEO perspective, sharing Content through backlines brings more traffic. In other words, you’re trading your Content for backlinks.
It occurs when another website tries to steal your Content. People use web admins to rewrite the Content and appear like their own in today’s digital age. Some don’t even attempt to replace branded terms. This can make Google flag your website, lowering the search results.
How to Fix Duplicate Content to Ensure it Doesn’t Hurt your SEO
301 Redirecting Content
Sometimes, it’s impossible to stop the system from creating the wrong URL content. If this is not logical for you, it’s something to prioritize when talking to developers. To keep duplicate Content at bay, you should direct all to the proper canonical URLs.
You can use the same concept to trail WWW and HTTPS. A quick way to check whether you have duplicate Content around your URLs is to do a quick check on Google. You can take a section of the URL and search for it. If you see more than one page showing on the SERPs, you should examine closely what is happening.
LinkBack to the original Content
If you can’t control the head your website appears on, add a backlink to the original article. You can do this in the RSS feed. If Google has several links to the original article, the algorithms will identify the original canonical version.
Consolidate the Pages
If you have lots of pages with duplicate content, you should redirect them to one page. Let’s say you have two blog posts with Content that appear the same. You can combine them into one post to maintain originality. The truth is, one blog page can rank better than two blog posts combined.
Noindex is an HTML tag that allows Google to crawl your Content. Any duplicate content won’t appear in the SERPs (only the original) when you do this.
Syndicated Content should appear on appropriate pages.
If you have syndicated Content, the chances are that other websites pick it up. But as long as your Content is legitimate, you don’t expect a penalty.
How about making it easier for Google by ensuring your content is unique. To avoid any issues like unintended plagiarism, you can use a program like Copyscape. If you discover another website has lifted your Content, let your voice be heard.
Final Thoughts on Duplicate Content
Think about it – you have invested in content strategy, keyword research, and marketing. So, the last thing you expect is your competitors duplicating your Content. One way to avoid duplication is maintaining consistency in your internal linking. When syndicating content, add links to the original URL (not a variation of URL). You can also add an extra safeguard with canonical links. Your site must get credit for the original version to ensure you get the best ROI for your SEO efforts.