One the best ways to boost your website’s visibility in search engines is by creating valuable content that’s relevant to your target audience.
And while it’s okay to take inspiration from elsewhere online, using copies of other other websites’ content (or repeating the same content on different webpages) can do more harm than good.
Here’s the lowdown on duplicate content – what it is, why it matters and tips to avoid it.
What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content is any content that’s the same as content on other websites or on different pages of the same website.
For example, if you copy a blog or even part of a blog from another website and post on your own site, it’s duplicate content.
Likewise, if you use the same block of text across multiple pages on your website, that’s duplicate content too.
Text that’s very similar to other text online can also be considered duplicate content.
In fact, for content to not be be considered duplicated by Google, it should be as close to 100% original as possible.
Why is duplicate content bad for SEO?
SEO is all about improving the likelihood that your website will appear in search results when somebody searches for something related to your business.
Duplicate content can have the opposite effect and actually decrease the chance that your webpages will rank.
This is because when there are multiple webpages with the same or similar content, Google’s algorithm has trouble figuring out which page to display in search results and will generally try to pick whichever version is best.
So, if content on one of your webpages is duplicated from another website, your page may not rank at all.
What’s more, if you have the same or similar content across multiple pages on your own site, it could mean all of those pages struggle to rank.
Tips to avoid duplicate content.
The most straightforward way to avoid duplicate content is by creating fresh, original content yourself. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re a small business owner with limited resources – but quality over quantity is the name of the game here.
That aside, there are some other steps you can take to avoid duplicate content and fix related issues:
- Use a tool to check for duplicate content. Tools like Siteliner will scan your website for pages with a lot of duplicate content. This a handy starting point for uncovering issues you might not have spotted.
- Minimise repetition on your website. For example, instead of including the same paragraph about your business at the bottom of every page, add a link to a single page that covers all the details.
- Consolidate or expand similar content. If you have several pages on your site that are very similar, consider expanding the content on each page so it’s distinct, or combine the pages into one.
- Add 301 redirects. If you have multiple duplicated webpages (for instance, if you’ve restructured your website), add 301 redirects to send users and Google’s search bots to the correct page. Depending on your website, you can add 301 redirects either via your website management dashboard or by contacting your developer.
- Be mindful of syndicated content. Sharing blogs and other content with or from other businesses can be great for building partnerships, but make sure to link back to the original page and ask others to do the same to avoid harming your ranking.
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