Duplicate content is one of the most common SEO errors we find on the internet. You could have an excellent design and world class marketing but if your website has duplicate content on its pages Google will not look favourably on it. It will create a lot of confusion in the search engine’s algorithms which could either hinder your possibilities of ranking on Google or plummet your site down in the rankings. As a result, customers won’t be able to find your website. It goes without saying that your sales will be affected. So, if you are writing content for your website, you need to know a few things: what duplicate content is, why it affects SEO and what you can do to avoid it.
What Is Duplicate Content?
This is what the mighty Google has to say about duplicate content: “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” To put it simply: it’s when a significant amount writing on your website is very similar to the writing on someone else’s. The odd sentence here and there is inevitable, but if there is a noticeable pattern of duplication it could create problems.
If you have two sites with exactly the same writing on them Google will see both versions of your content and will not know which one to prioritise over the other. The end result is often that both of your sites suffer a drop in rankings because Google doesn’t know which version it should include in its index. This is something you want to avoid like facing Barcelona in the Champions League. Although Google have said that there is no specific penalty for duplicated content it is a truth universally accepted in web marketing that duplicated content will make it difficult for your website to rank well.
When Might This Happen?
There are two common examples of duplicate content occurring online:
Brands With Multiple Websites
Having a recognisable brand is key to your company’s success. It helps your business stand out in the minds of your customers and makes your company more relatable while delivering your key message effectively. A problem can occur when you have more than one website for one brand though.
Many business owners think it seems logical to ensure that both sites are sending out identical brand messages. To do this, they copy the content over so that it is the same on both sites. However, this creates the problem of duplicate content.
It has happened in the past with RBS and Natwest; their content was identical and their search engine positions were harmed as a result. Brand consistency is great, but not when it comes to repeating the content on your websites.
Product Description Listings
Likewise with product descriptions on E-commerce sites, you must be certain that your content is unique.
When you get a new product in the supplier will often give you a description of the product to go along with your listing. However, the problem with using them is that there is a very good chance any other site selling the same product will use the exact same description (as seen in the image above). This minimises your chances of ranking higher as Google will see that your product description is just the same as everyone else’s and therefore not worth pushing up the rankings.
How to fix duplicate content issues
If you have multiple sites with very similar content on them:
- Consider redefining the purpose of your sites to ensure that they are targeting different things and adjust your content accordingly.
- Consider combining your sites as this will boost your overall authority.
If you have generic product listings:
- Take time to rewrite them in your own words.
- Take your own pictures of the product.
If you have hundreds of products on your site all of which have a generic product listing this can be a daunting task however it is definitely worth it if you are serious about ranking well. For help with this speak to us and our content team at Pixus can sort you out with some snappy and unique product descriptions.
If you have duplicated content within the same website:
- Find out which page is getting the most traffic and delete and redirect the secondary page to that page (or ask us for help!).