The Dangers of Duplicate Content

Having quality content on your website is extremely beneficial in boosting your search engine rankings because that text tells the search engines what your website and its specific pages are all about. Search engines interpret the meaning of your web pages by looking at the text and keywords. If you want your website to appear for searches related to that text and keywords, you need original, quality content. When creating content, be sure to avoid duplicate content (content that is the same on multiple pages, or content that is the same as that on another website) as you run the risk of being penalized by Google’s Panda Algorithm. Panda, first launched in February 2011, penalizes sites for duplicate, shallow or copied content, and spam-like content stuffed with keywords.

Why does original content matter? Not having original content can cause a drop in rankings, therefore leading to a drop in website traffic. To provide users with a positive search experience, search engines limit the number of sites they show with the same content, forcing them to choose which site is likely to yield the best results for the user. Additionally, failing to feature unique content can lead to a penalization from Google, and once you’re on the search engine’s bad side, it’s hard to recover.

To avoid being hit with a Panda penalty, ensure your content is well written and contains no grammatical or spelling errors. Also be sure to include fitting keywords or phrases that help answer the questions for which users are searching. For example, including keyword phrases such as “the best kinds of tooth restorations are implants” can be beneficial for someone searching for “the best kinds of tooth restorations.” Make sure content is relevant, valuable and hearty in substance.

If you have already been hit by a penalty, it all comes down to identifying which version of the duplicate content is the “right” one. If there is content on the site that can be found in multiple locations, it is important to insert a canonical tag, which tells search engines a specific URL is the original copy of a page. The best way to do this is to set up a 301 redirect from the duplicate page to the original. Not sure how to handle this? Ask us for help!

Be sure all content you create is quality, original and full of substance. If you’re doing this, you are setting your practice up for SEO success!