What is Duplicate Content?
As the name suggests, duplicate content is the kind of content that appears on the Internet in multiple places - or to be specific, in more than “one place.” It first appears in one place, i.e., a URL. If it appears under any other URLs, then it becomes duplicate content.
For example, imagine Forbes posts an article on the reskilling revolution on their website. As the blog writer for an employment agency, you consider it to be a good topic and decide to repost it on your blog as it is. Although it is original content on Forbes, it becomes duplicate content once it is posted on your website.
Why is Duplicate Content Important?
Duplicate content can affect you and your website in multiple ways. Let’s look at some of these.
Impact on search engine optimization
- Search engines struggle to decide which version is better for the user.
- Search engines struggle to direct the link metrics between different pages.
- Search engines can’t decide which version of the content to rank for query results.
Impact on-site owners
- If you are putting out duplicate content, then you will not get the visibility you want.
- Other sites also struggle to choose between similar links.
How do Duplicate Content Issues Happen?
There can be various reasons behind duplicate content issues. In fact, it is not a given that duplicate content issues happen only because of you intentionally plagiarising a text.
1. URL Variations
URL parameters and the order that they appear can cause duplicate content issues. Click tracking, analytics code, and other aspects like this all go towards the distinction of duplicate content.
2. HTTP vs. HTTPS or WWW vs. non-WWW pages
If your site has a separate version on HTTP/HTTPS and WWW/non-WWW pages, then having the same content on both these versions can lead to duplicate content issues.
3. Scraped/Copied content
Even if you copy things that can not be rephrased such as product information and manufacturer’s descriptions, it can cause a duplicate content issue.
How to Fix Duplicate Content Issues
Luckily for us, these issues can be fixed! All you have to do is to specify which of the duplicates is the correct one. This means that if there is any duplicate content found on your website, you canonicalize it for the search engine.
You can canonicalize a text in three of the following ways:
- 301 Redirect
- Meta Robots Noindex
In addition to canonical tags, you can also prevent duplicate content issues by:
- Meta Tagging
- Parameter Handling
- Duplicate URLs
The Bottom Line
The best way to avoid duplicate content is to create quality content that is original and unique. Yes, you might still get issues with OTHER people copying your content — but that too has a solution!
If you want to ensure that duplicate content doesn’t become too big of a problem for you, think carefully about site structure and concentrate on your visitor’s journey. Also, make sure that you send the correct indication to Google making it mark your content as the source.
Always focus on making your content organically because, in the world of digital marketing, shortcuts don’t pay off in the long run!