What You Need to Know About Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate Content word on wooden cubes
Duplicate Content word on wooden cubes

In SEO, many factors determine a website’s ranking on search engines. One of the most important factors is the website content, which must be relevant, useful, and original. Thus, in the quest for relevant and useful material, many website owners struggle with duplicate content issues, which could adversely affect a website.

As a content marketing agency, we understand how duplicate content can cause major issues, which is why you should know what duplicate content is, why it’s an issue in SEO, and how to avoid and fix it.

What is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is significant chunks of content that appear on multiple pages on the Internet. The replication may be intentional or unintentional, and it can occur within one or across a few websites.

Duplicate content can also come in different forms, such as exact or partial matches. Likewise, different formats like text, images, or video may be duplicated.

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How do duplication issues happen?

There are a few ways for content to become duplicated. Here are things to watch out for:

  • URL variations caused by URL parameters
  • Site versions (i.e., http vs https; www.site.com vs site.com)
  • Scraped or copied content (even if it’s from your site)

Why is Duplicate Content an Issue in SEO?

Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, duplicate content can cause problems for both search engines and the website owner.

Firstly, search engines try to show their users pages with unique and relevant content. So, pages with duplicate content may be relegated to lower rankings.

Secondly, search engines may struggle to determine which page to rank higher. Likewise, they may be confused as to which page to attribute link metrics like trust, authority, link equity, and so on. Thus, there’s a risk for the search engine to rank the incorrect or the copycat site higher than your original page.

Thirdly, with lower rankings, your website may see a decline in organic traffic, which can ultimately hurt its revenue and overall success.

Lastly, and this is an extreme consequence: duplicate content may result in penalties. Google, for one, may penalize a website with a significant amount of scraped content since this violates their guidelines. Penalties may range from a drop in rankings to, in extreme cases, complete removal from the search results.

However, it’s important to note that while Google takes duplicate content, especially blatant plagiarism, seriously, these consequences rarely occur. If publish quality content and follow Google’s guidelines, you’ll likely not be penalized.

Nevertheless, it’s best to avoid duplicate content.

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How to Avoid Duplicate Content

Here are a few things you can do to avoid duplicate content on your website:

  1. Create Original Content

    One of the best ways to avoid duplication is to create fresh, relevant, original content for your website. This means conducting research, presenting information in a new and engaging way, and adding value to existing content.

    Before publishing any content on your website, run them through plagiarism checkers like Copyscape and Grammarly, which will detect any similarities between your content and other published content online.
  2. Watch Out for Similar Content

    Even if the contents are not the same word-for-word, they may still be considered duplicate content because they are considerably similar. So, it’s a must to regularly monitor your site for similar content.

    Another way to avoid similar content is to run it through plagiarism checkers before publishing.
  3. Avoid Publishing the Same Content on Different URLs

    Different URL variations and site versions may result in one page indexed as two separate pages, resulting in duplicate content.

    E-commerce websites are also prone to publishing the same content on different URLs. If not set up correctly, a site may automatically create a new URL for different versions of an item, which will invariably result in duplicate content.

    Thus, website owners must always check indexed pages. Check that the number of indexed pages corresponds to the number of pages you created and assume that the rest are duplicate pages.
  4. Minimize Repetitive Boilerplates

    Repetitive statements about copyrights and other legal disclaimers may be flagged as duplicate content because they contain similar text across multiple pages.

    Try to minimize boilerplate statements. Instead, add a link to your full legal policy.

How to Fix Duplicate Content

In SEO, duplicate content is somewhat inevitable. So, if you found duplicate content, don’t worry. Here are five ways to fix it:

person typing on laptop

Rewrite the Content

Usually, the simplest way to fix similar content is to rewrite them to make them original. This also opens an opportunity to improve your content and SEO.

Consolidate Pages with Similar Content

If you have similar content across multiple pages, consider consolidating them into one long, comprehensive article, similar to content curation. Articles like this are great for SEO since they offer incredible value to readers.

Use 301 Redirect

301 redirects are one of the easiest ways to fix duplicate content. If you found a duplicate page that you don’t need, you can simply redirect them to the original page. Bots will proceed to the original site and index it.

HTML code on computer monitor

Use the “Noindex” Tag

The “noindex” tag tells bots to exclude a page from the search engine’s index, meaning they will not appear on the SERP.

This tag can be useful for e-commerce sites that may have separate pages for versions of a product. This way, these individual pages can exist without being indexed.

Use Canonical Tags

Canonical tags tell search engines which, among different versions of a page, is the original page. This way, a multilingual website, will not be flagged as duplicates. Instead, Google will attribute all metrics to the original site.

Make Your Site Invincible with Truelogic HK

Sometimes, issues with duplicate content are inevitable. While it’s rare to be penalized for this issue, you should still avoid duplicate content to avoid the consequences on your website’s SEO performance.

There are numerous ways to avoid and fix duplicate content in a website, which an experienced on-page SEO services provider like Truelogic HK can help you navigate. Reach out to us to learn how we can help you ensure your website’s success.

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