Duplicate Content – A Beginner’s GuideAuthor: Jamie | Filed under: Copywriting, Guides for Beginners
If you’ve heard the term ‘duplicate content’ being mentioned in terms of SEO but don’t fully understand it, this article is for you.
I’ll look at some of the most common ways duplicate common can become an issue and how you can avoid these having an impact on your SEO.
The best place to start is Google’s own definition of what duplicate content is:
“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
Most duplicate content issues are unintentional. However, in some cases people may use duplicate content in a bid to try to manipulate the search engine results.
Here are some of the most common ways website owners can unwittingly end up with duplicate content:
Multiple URLs for the same page
It’s quite common for sites to have more than one version of the same page indexed by the search engines. For example, you may have www.yourdomainname.com and yourdomainname.com both returning your home page without one redirecting to the other.
This can apply to any page within your site, not just the home page. Another way in which a URL can have two separate versions is www.yourpagename.com and www.yourpagename.com/ with a slash at the end.
You can find out more information on this topic and how to put things right on Google Webmaster Tools
The same content on a different domain
Sometimes businesses can end up with different domains without even knowing about it. For example, I once worked with a local plumber who had paid a company for a site and hadn’t seen the results. He’d then paid another company and had a website from them.
I was able to find both sites online with exactly the same content and we eventually got the original site deleted so only one existed.
Not taking the time to write unique content
I worked with a letting agency recently that had dozens of pages on their website. When they wanted to change the content on their home page, all they did was to copy and paste information from other pages on their site resulting in duplicate content.
Google is understanding when it comes to duplicate content. While it’s clearly not good at all from a usability point of view, you won’t automatically be penalised in the search engine rankings unless Google thinks you’re using duplicate content to try to cheat its algorithm.
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