SEO specialists define duplicate content as the content that appears on two different websites with unique URLs. So this is a kind of content that has already been written and posted by someone on the web. It’s important to note that the content has already been indexed on Google, because if Google doesn’t have the first version of the copied content in its index then it’s not really considered as duplicate, even though it actually is!
How Does Duplicate Content Affect SEO
Duplicate content can be created both intentionally as plagiarism and unintentionally due to some technical issues. But in any case, it affects SEO. If you assume that your website is damaged by this issue, read this article to know more about how it works and what to do with this problem.
Some people wonder whether duplicate content really influences search engine rankings. Definitely, it does!
Why duplicate content affects ranking?
According to Google policy, when there are numerous pieces of ‘appreciably similar’ content at more than one web address, this makes it difficult for search engines to determine which of pages is the most relevant to a certain search query. So Google doesn’t know which URL should be ranked. Also, if there are many pages containing the same texts, search engines can’t identify which of them to include or exclude from their indices. Moreover, Google doesn’t know whether to direct such metrics as page authority, trust, link equity, etc. to one page or to separate them between its multiple versions.
In addition, duplicate content exhausts the Google budget. How does it happen? Google constantly crawls your websites which takes a lot of resources, like servers, personnel, and different costs. Thus, if Google keeps finding the same content over and over again, at some point it stops crawling your website not to waste its own resources, especially if the website is really big. This way, search engines can leave some important pages containing unique content ignored, so they won’t be indexed.
What does duplicate content mean for website owners?
Having duplicate content on your website leads to three main problems:
1. Organic traffic drop.
To put it simply, search engines don’t want to rank pages that contain copied content from other pages indexed by Google. It works even for pages on your own website. For instance, if you have a few pages on your site with identical information, search engines are not sure which page must be considered as original, so all those pages will be ranked low.
It’s said in Google policy that duplicate content can cause a penalty or even complete deindexing of a site. However, it happens extremely rarely. A website may get penalized in case it copies content from other resources purposely. So if there are a few alike pages on your website, you shouldn’t worry about a penalty.
3. Seldom indexation.
If Google finds duplicate content, it may not only downrank it. Typically, if search engines come across duplicate content, they just refuse to index it. It may be a big problem for websites with lots of pages, as they need a larger crawl budget that Google doesn’t want to spend on them anymore due to content similarity.
How to avoid duplicate content?
The first obvious thing that you can do to avoid duplicate content is not to publish the same information on different pages. Your main goal must be to create a unique piece of content that will satisfy users’ queries.
To avoid duplicate content, you can ask for help from UK Edubirdie. On this service, you can find speech writers, check your content for plagiarism, and much more.
If there is no way to avoid using content that has already been published, you should always cite the source of it. If you add a link to the original page, search engines will be able to recognize it.
Moreover, you should consider some technical aspects in case you want to prevent content duplication.
- Redirect your pages to URLs with status code 301;
- If you are going to change the domain, don’t forget to set up a redirect to a new one. Make sure you redirect to the corresponding pages but not to your new homepage.
- Specify a canonical link for every page on your website, so some extra parameters in URLs won’t generate duplicates.
Although Google usually doesn’t issue a penalty for duplicate content, search engines use it as one of the ranking factors. Besides, Google doesn’t consider a website with duplicate content valuable for users. The content which is not unique hurts SEO, and thus it should be fixed if you want your website’s traffic to grow. Writing for SEO means creating original content that has value for readers, so it can be ranked high by Google.
Emma Rundle is an SEO expert who has a lot of experience in website promotion. She specializes in both on-site and off-site SEO optimization. Emma constantly improves her skills in SEO and shares her knowledge with others.
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