Whether duplicate website content is the product of an accident or someone copying text blocks from your web pages, it must be addressed and managed properly.
It makes no difference if you manage a small business or a large multinational; every website is susceptible to the threat that duplicate content poses to SEO results.
Let us discuss how to know it’s happening in this article, assess whether it’s harming you internally or across other domains, and appropriately manage the issue.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content pertains to blocks of content that are either identical (exact duplicates) or extremely similar (common or near-duplicates). The term “near-duplicate content” refers to two pieces of content that differ only slightly.
Naturally, some overlap in content is inevitable and occasionally unavoidable (i.e., when quoting or mentioning another article on the internet).
Different Types of Duplicate Content
Duplicate content comes in two forms:
- When a domain creates duplicate content via various internal URLs (on the same website), this is referred to as internal duplicate content.
- External duplicate content, also referred to as cross-domain duplicates, arises when search engines index the identical page copy on two or more separate domains.
In a nutshell, external and internal duplicate content may be exact- or near-duplicates.
How Does Duplicate Content Affect SEO?
Google does not penalize users for duplicating content. It does, however, filter identical content, which has the same effect as a penalty: both the web pages lose ranking.
Duplicate content confounds Google and causes it to choose which of the same pages to rank first. Regardless of who created the content, the original page is unlikely to be chosen for the top search results. This is only one of the several reasons why duplicating content is harmful to SEO.
How to Check for Duplicate Content
If you have content-rich web pages that are losing search engine rankings, you should investigate whether your content has been duplicated and used on another website. The following are some ways to accomplish this:
Copy some sentences from one of your web pages, enclose them in quotation marks, then conduct a Google search. By enclosing the text in quotation marks, you’re informing Google that you’re looking for results that contain that exact text. If many results appear, this indicates that your work has been copied.
Copyscape is a free tool that scans the text on your web pages for instances of duplicate content issues on other domains. If your page’s content has been scraped, the scraped URL will appear in the results.
Duplicate Content Solutions
Let’s face it; you didn’t spend so much time and effort creating unique content only to have someone copy it and outrank you in the search results.
While the growing issue of content being duplicated may appear daunting and will almost certainly demand significant time to manage, the effort required to handle it will be well worth the ROI.
If you follow and take a proactive approach to reducing duplicate content, you will enhance your rankings and deter scrapers, thieves, and inexperienced newcomers.
Another critical concern is this: Given that practically everything in your business is intellectual property, including your content, do you have the essential safeguards to ensure that what is yours remains yours? Visit Watchdog Business Tools to learn more about your intellectual property and how to protect it.
You can also avoid duplicate content by working with subject matter experts. Learn how to work with them successfully from this blog post.