One of the things that Google watches for is duplicate content. If your website is found to have no or very little unique content but instead uses exactly the same words and phrases as thousands of other websites, you may never make it into the top search engine results.
In fact, experts assume that up to 30 percent of all content found online is duplicated. While that can have a major impact on your SEO rankings, not all is lost – as long as you understand what duplicate content actually is and how you can avoid it.
What is duplicate content?
Google defines duplicate content as considerable chunks of subject matter either across domains or within the same domain that is exactly the same or very similar to content produced elsewhere in the same language. Basically, anything across multiple URLs on the web that is (almost) identical.
Duplicate content is often created unintentionally and cannot be avoided entirely. Examples include discussion forums with very similar topics or items in online shops that are presented or shown on various platforms.
When Google will punish you
According to Google, you will not be punished just because you have duplicate content issues on your website. You will, however, get in trouble if you start purposely producing identical content with the aim to either trick search engines or attract more traffic. Google algorithms are designed in a way so that they pick up deceptive practices which will lead to your website being removed from search results.
If your website has been put in the sin bin by Google and removed from all search engine results because of duplicate content, there are steps you can take to rectify the decision and get back into the good books.
Google has clearly outlined its quality guidelines that you should be following to avoid punishment. The most important points to consider are to create pages for users and not for search engines and to not deceive users or try to manipulate search engines.
Whatever you do, ask yourself if it adds value or helps your users in any way. When it comes to content, avoid generating content automatically and instead focus on subject matter that is original, valuable and meaningful for your users.
Application to reconsider
Whether you believe Google has wrongly removed your page from its ranking, or whether you realized you had too much duplicate content on your website and have given it a makeover – you can ask Google to review your website at any point by requesting a reconsideration. The process may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks and you will be notified via email once an outcome has been achieved.
If you find yourself in the position where someone else has clearly stolen your content and published it as theirs on their website, you can take legal action as this is considered plagiarism. Just like any other deceptive technique, Google takes plagiarism very seriously.
Why you should still avoid duplicate content
If simply having duplicate content on your website does not necessarily get you in trouble with Google, you may ask yourself if it even matters. The answer is: it does indeed! For various reasons.
Loss of audience
Your website’s main purpose should be to attract visitors and turn them into buying customers. In order to achieve that, you need to attract the right kind of users and convince them that you are an expert in your field and have the best possible solution to their problems.
Duplicate content will make it harder for Google to decide which URLs to include or exclude in their indices and which ones to show first in search engine results. If the wrong page shows up, you might be losing potential customers because what they see does not respond with their initial search query.
Imagine browsing through a website and being confronted with the same stuff over and over again. It would be of no value to you and you would grow tired pretty quickly, continuing your search for answers elsewhere.
Having unique content on each one of your website pages will keep your audience interested and increase user experience. The more users you attract to your website, the higher it will rank in search engine results because Google identifies you as an expert who provides its audience with meaningful content.
If you are worried about duplicate content on your website or are struggling with creating unique and original posts for your audience, talk to the friendly experts at Energise Web today. We specialize in web services from SEO to copywriting and are happy to have a chat to help you get your website back on track.