The Duplicate Content SEO Penalty

Avoid duplicate contentSearch engines like Google do not like duplicate content. In fact, they downgrade content that appears to be a duplicate, harming your SEO. This is something that is easily avoided.

Duplicate content means that similar content appears at multiple locations on the web. Search engines don’t know which URL to show in the search results, so they penalize all instances with low rankings.

Duplicate Content Can Harm SEO

Duplicate content is content which is available on multiple URLs on the web. Because more than one URL shows the same content, search engines don’t know which URL is the original or more authoritative source. Therefore they might rank both URLs lower and give preference to other web pages.

Google’s definition of duplicate content is as follows:

“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”

Provide Original Content

Google is focused on quality. It is always on the lookout for the best possible piece of content that fits the user’s intent best. The better you are at providing content that meets that objective, the better you will do with SEO.

  • Have a lot of similar content? Consolidate it.
  • Using content published elsewhere? Make it clear by using blockqoute or other ways of acknowledging the source.
  • Want to share content at more than one site? Publish it in full at one location and ink to it from all other locations.

Technical Fixes for Duplicate Content

There are many technical issues that can cause duplicate content. Make sure that a Canonical URL is set for any content that is used in multiple instances at a website.

Once you’ve decided which URL is the canonical URL for your piece of content, you have to tell search engines about the canonical version of a page. There are four methods of solving the problem, in order of preference:

  1. Not creating duplicate content
  2. Redirecting duplicate content to the canonical URL
  3. Adding a canonical link element to the duplicate page
  4. Adding an HTML link from the duplicate page to the canonical page