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What is Duplicate Content and Why's it Bad?

Amanda Tatum Posted by Amanda Tatum on September 22, 2016

What is Duplicate Content and Why it's Bad?

With the extensiveness of the internet and all the information out there, we know that duplicate content is bound to exist. Therefore knowing exactly what it is and how to deal with it will help your business in the long run by helping search engines provide the most relevant results and help your links rank and your website get more qualified traffic.

So what exactly is duplicate content? It sounds easy enough to figure out as the definition is within the words itself. It is indeed content that appears more than once or content that is ‘duplicated’. However, a more specific definition is needed. The definition of duplicate content is simply summarized by MOZ as ‘content that appears in more than one place on the internet’.

This means the same content is showing up under different URLs. Since search engines only show one version of the content, they can have a hard time figuring out which post is the original. Therefore, your rankings and traffic could suffer if you have content that is too similar or not original. 

MOZ defines the top 3 problems with duplicate content. They are as follows:

  1. Search engines don't know whether to direct the link metrics to one page, or keep it separated between multiple versions.
  2. Search engines don't know which version to rank for query results.
  3. When duplicate content is present, site owners suffer rankings and traffic losses, and search engines provide less relevant results.

Therefore, if you ‘republish’ a lot of content from other sites and don’t provide anything original yourself you run the risk of not adding any value. Google will not rank your site if there is no value to add, so make sure you are producing original content that adds value to those searching.

So what should you do if you have duplicate content? Google has a whole list of how to deal with duplicate content including simple things you can do, like being consistent with your internal linking and minimizing similar content. However, they also encourage the use of either a 301 redirect or a canonical URL. Both of these methods help search engines redirect links to the original content. It ensures that search engines can find the original content and see to it that it ranks over the duplicates.

All in all, it is important to remember to be original and add value with the content you post. 

Topics: Content Marketing

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