As an seo consultant you should be fully aware that both searchers and search engines love unique, fresh, quality information. However it is not uncommon to come across sites that repeating content issues either created accidentally or deliberately. Duplicate content has become a huge topic of discussion and has gained it’s hazardous meaning thanks to new search engine filters.
Duplicate content using it’s general meaning relates to pages with identical or similar content either in the same domain or spread across external web pages. The information that is classed as duplicate does not have to be exact and could simply be appreciably similar.
There is so much talk flying around about what percentage of your page would need to be similar to another in order for it to fall into the duplicate content category and harm your site. However there is no distinct test and search engines would never base their decisions on a simple test of content percentage, in fact search engines do take into account other factors such as site authority, domain age, link popularity and many more….
Duplicate Content Types
Google have given us the following non harmful content types:-
- Discussion forums that can create a number of duplicate pages
- Store items shown or linked
- Printer only versions of web pages
The main types of harmful duplicate content are those types that have been put together in an attempt to manipulate search engines such as multiple landing pages with duplicate or even stolen content.
If you are creating or attempting to create unique content for your site and have no intentions of creating it deliberately, it is very unlikely you are going to be penalised. However it is imperative as an seo consultant to make sure your knowledge of duplicate content is fully up to date, in order to avoid being penalised.
Why Search Engines Don’t Like Duplicate Content
As you will probably know, especially if you are an seo consultant, all major search engines hate duplicate content. The reason for this is that search engines want to show the most relevant results and pages with identical content confuse them and therefore duplicate content filters had to be put in place.
The duplicate content filters work much like algorithms designed to compare one page against the other. If for instance Google comes across two very similar pages they will leave the most trusted one in the primary index and move the other to the supplemental index.
Penalties are most likely to arise if you are copying hundreds of pages from different domains but you could also run a risk if your unique vs duplicate content ratio is too low.
8 Tips To Avoid Duplicate Content
- Don’t steal
This is pretty straight forward as it has a negative impact on your search engine rankings and you could also find yourself being sued for copyright. Try to keep your content unique and stick to your main site theme.
- Check Pages Regularly
As your site grows it is quite common to find pages which cover similar topics in a similar format. If you find any simply work on them to make them as unique as possible.
- Check For Scrapers
We are not all honest webmasters so regularly check to see if someone is scraping your Content. There are plenty of free duplicate content tools around, the copyscape will check for copies of your pages on the net.
If you find any you can file a DMA infringement with Google, Yahoo and MSN. Besides this you could file a legal suit.
- Blog Syndication
If you publish a post on a syndication website and your blog, ensure you include a link back to your own site. This will ensure the syndication page is not ranked above your own.
- Dupliate Sites
If you run 2 duplicate sites but promote them through different channels be sure to tell the search engines which domain you would prefer to be indexed.
- Duplicate Urls
If you have exact content on multiple urls within your site, consider either changing the content or using robots.txt to block the page from being indexed.
- Affiliate Sites
If you are running an affiliate site, add value to it by re writing the product description or review. Also look to create additional pieces of information or tips.
- Global Targeting
If you have 7 domains with duplicate content targeting different countries you will seriously need to consider using unique content on each one, otherwise you run the risk of only one site being indexed.
As an seo consultant it is of high importance to understand what duplicate content is and how best to avoid it. Try your best to create high quality pages that add value and the risk of you being penalised is low.
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Until next time
Author: Tim (293 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.