Perhaps you have heard about duplicate content and its negative impact on your SEO and this makes you wonder how unique your content needs to be. Considering that some website owners copy and paste entire articles and believe that this is not a concern, the experts at the My Little Big Web SEO agency will finally unravel the mystery of duplication in this article and give you some advice that will help you solve the problem.
What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content is identical content that appears on more than one website or on several pages of the same website. Google describes duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar“. Simply put, it’s like having the same content as your neighbour, or yourself. Most of the time, duplicate content is caused by errors, such as pagination issues, but it can also happen when another website plagiarizes your content.
Does Google penalize duplicate content?
As far as ranking is concerned, Google doesn’t want to show users identical content on different pages because user experience is what matters most to it.
Imagine being a user who visits a page thinking you are discovering new content and realizing that you have already read it. The site would lose credibility and deliver a poor user experience. Result: you decrease your chances of getting the user back on your website. The same applies to Google.
If you copy verbatim or even similarly web content from another page to easily produce content, Google will know that it was published after the original.
When confronted with duplicate content, Google often reacts by assigning a lower spot in search results. It also looks at which pages the content comes from and ranks the one with the highest domain authority.
This undoubtedly saves time when creating content, but it runs counter to a successful content strategy, since it does not help your SEO. Copying content from other pages is therefore a waste of time, because you are only regurgitating text and not improving your natural SEO.
How do I check for duplicate content?
Actively checking your website for duplicate content and resolving the problem will improve your website’s page rankings and ensure that your visitors are directed to fresh content that will encourage them to revisit your website and learn more.
You can start by simply entering an extract of your content into anti-plagiarism software such as Copyscape for example. It will quickly show if your content has been copied somewhere on the Internet.
Another relatively simple way to check if you have duplicate content is to see how many of your pages are indexed on Google. You can do this by searching on Google as follows: site:example.com
You will then get the number of pages you have created:
If you find this number abnormally high, it probably means that pages have been added automatically and that they may contain duplicate content.
You can also use Google’s URL inspection tool in Search Console, which will provide you with accurate information about the version of your page indexed by the search engine as well as the number of pages indexed.
Remove duplicate content from your website
Have you spotted duplicate content on your website? Don’t panic, it’s commonplace and there are effective ways to get rid of it.
The canonical tag
A canonical tag should be used to ensure that your site is only accessible through one URL. You tell search engines that this specific URL is the original copy. If you repost an article that is already published elsewhere, you can use this tag to tell search engines where the original version is located.
In addition, it helps Google’s robots to better explore your website. They will spend more time analyzing your new web pages or updates to your pages rather than analyzing the original versions of them.
Google’s URL Settings tool
You can once again use Google’s URL inspection tool, which lets you ask Google not to browse some of your pages with specific settings. This tool enables you to let Google know that your duplicated content is intentional and should not be considered for SEO purposes.
The 301 redirection
Finally, a 301 redirection is a good solution if you want to prevent your visitors from seeing duplicated content, but the main page still benefits from its referencing. Simply put, 301 redirection moves the X page and its content to the Y page. The historical popularity of page X is then transmitted to page Y. Internet users and search engine robots will be redirected to the official URL.
Duplicate content on social media
Many people duplicate their content on other media as part of their digital marketing strategy. This involves posting their blog articles on social networks to promote their content and web page. If your content is interesting and attractive, it will create commitment but not conversion. Readers won’t have to visit your website because they will already have the information that interests them. Increasing your conversion rate is surely what you want most of all.
Reducing duplicate content for more conversions
Here’s how you can share your content on different platforms. Publish only a portion of your content as a teaser and link to the original article to encourage further reading on your blog. The goal is to generate traffic from social networks. As a result, you will eliminate duplicate content and tailor your posts to generate conversions.
If you are dealing with content published on networks that you duplicate on your website by reposting it, such as a video for example, you will get less commitment than what social networks can generate. Duplicating your content here will not allow you to perform well on Google. However, you can still repost to foster engagement. For this, make sure to block Google’s indexing robot using the meta tag “noindex” to avoid weakening your website. Your pages will continue to position themselves well, alongside a good SEO strategy of course, without your site being impaired by the duplicated content.
Reuse your content without duplicating it
If you want to go even further, you can implement strategies that allow you to reuse your content while eliminating duplicate content. If you have posted a video on social networks, for example, make it a complete article by further developing your ideas instead of simply posting it on your website. Google’s algorithms do not penalize websites that use their content on different platforms to spread more information. This is a technique used by Neil Patel, one of the world’s leading SEO experts.
Duplicate ideas, not content
As we have seen, it is useless to copy the content of another web page verbatim because it has no value for your SEO. On the other hand, you can improve your SEO by taking the ideas and main points of content that seems relevant to your blog and mentioning the page it comes from. Link to the original page, highlighting the people who did the research you are using. Just make sure you check that your sources are reliable. It will also increase your credibility with Internet users, who will see that you have relevant sources.
Focus on original content before all else
Creating original content will improve your user experience and ensure that search engines are not forced to choose between several of your pages with the same content.
Keep in mind that your writing skills are your best friend when it comes to removing duplicate content. Don’t forget that Google promotes quality over quantity. Google is always on the lookout for the best possible content, which best corresponds to the user’s intent. Your goal is to leave a lasting impression!
Duplicate content is everywhere, fight it!
Duplicate content can be a real obstacle in the race for SEO. Unfortunately, it is still common online, so take action to avoid letting it affect your positioning. You now have all the tools you need to achieve this! However, if you need help in your fight against content duplication, you are more than welcome to contact us. Our SEO experts and web developers will be happy to help you create relevant content and a quality website.