What is Duplicate Content?

by Thesmania on July 28, 2014

in How to, SEO

Duplicate content

Duplicate content should be avoided, but there is a lot of confusion about what it is.

Put simply, duplicate content is when the same, or highly similar, content on a website is found in more than one place (url) online.

Search engines like Google struggle with (and sometimes penalize) duplicate content because their filters often can’t figure out which site has the original content and which site has the duplicate. Why does that matter? Search engines are usually set up to rank original content higher than duplicate, so the original content will appear first in a listing of search results. Originality is one of the ways that search engines determine how valuable content is online, matching what search engine users are usually looking for when they conduct searches.

For example, if someone copies a published article online and posts it on different page on the same site, or on a different site, without making major changes to it (major changes can include adding an introduction or conclusion to it), search engines will either view the copied article as duplicate content or (mistakenly) the original article as duplicate content.

A “penalty” issued by a search engine can be excluding pages that have duplicate content from search results. Also, if the site with duplicate is indentified as spammy for various reasons, a search engine will downgrade the site so other pages on the site won’t rank well in search results and/or they’ll be omitted from results entirely.

Avoiding Duplicate Content

Don’t create the following common forms of duplicate content:

1. Entire websites and blogs that are identical to other websites and blogs.

2. Identical pages on websites and blogs.

3. Scraped content: content that is copied from other sites and only changed minimally.

4. Product description duplication: copying a manufacturer’s description of a product.

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