Written By: Paige Gruner
Duplicate content could be detrimental to your SEO efforts. Duplicate content is content that is somewhat similar or even a complete word for word representation of an article or page on two URL’s.
Duplicate Content is Bad for SEO
Duplicate content can have a negative effect on your site’s SEO when Google (or other search engines) determine that it has been deliberately done to gain search engine rankings or to drive additional traffic to your site.
If you have duplicate content on multiple URL’s Google tries to find the original author of the content and if they don’t know which version(s) to rank for the search query, the page decreases in site traffic and page ranks.
Other Forms of Duplicate Content
In some instances a page on a website will have a printer-friendly version of the original page, creating duplicate content on two different URL’s.
Session IDs are another form of duplicate content, when a user is assigned a session ID that is included in the URL it creates multiple versions of the same page.
Auto-generated articles are another form of content that Google will punish you for, because it’s not content they want their users to read or experience. Most of the time these auto-generated articles are poorly written and consist of gibberish that has been scraped from other websites, resulting in Google claiming you as spam.
If Google believes that your site is trying to duplicate content in order to manipulate rankings and deceive their users, Google will take action and your site may be removed entirely from Google’s index, resulting in your page no longer appearing in search results.
How To Address Duplicate Content Issues
Our best advice is not using duplicate content, be genuine and put articles into your own words. Google as well as the users searching for your products or services want quality answers and content, so make sure you are providing them with relevant information that’s going to answer the questions they have or the products they are looking for. Here are a few other tips that are important when addressing duplicate content issues:
301 Redirects: If you’ve recently moved your site to a new domain, or there are multiple ways to access your site through different URLs, or you are merging multiple websites and want to make sure the old URL’s are redirected to the updated page, be sure to use 301 redirects in your .htaccess file to redirect your users as well as Googlebot and other spiders.
Canonical Tag: Rel=”canonical” is a tag attached to the HTML head of a web page and tells search engines that the page they are on is a copy of another URL and the actual rankings, metrics, and analytics should be credited to the provided URL listed before the rel=”canonical” tag. It is not recommended to block crawlers from accessing your duplicate content page, but rather use canonical tags to let Google know it is duplicate content from another URL.
Syndication: If you syndicate your content on other sites or use syndicated material on your own site, make sure to include a link back to the original article. Google always shows the article they believe is going to be useful for users, which may not be the original version.
Minimize Similar Content: If you have multiple pages with similar content, you should either merge the two pages together or create more unique content for the individual pages so that they don’t resemble each other completely.
Don’t Freak Out
If after reading this article you are panicking about the content on your page slightly resembling other content on your website, don’t freak out too much. Google states that they don’t take action on websites with similar content unless it appears that, “the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.” Try to follow good judgment and don’t copy other articles word for word. Google does a pretty good job on deciding what version of the content to show in search results.
For more information on Google’s Duplicate Content rules click here.
NuWave Commerce creates all custom designed websites, applications and performs all SEO/Social Media management in the latest Webmaster Guidelines. We have a team of professionals who keep up-to-date on the latest Google algorithm updates, rules and regulations, so that you can rest free. For more information on the services we offer please contact us.