SEO Expert Talks About Duplicate Content
How Google Handles Duplicate Content
Growing up, school always taught us that plagiarism is one of the most serious offenses one can commit against another author. Obviously, in the world of publishing, the same rule applies. However, when it comes to stealing or ‘scraping’ content online, there’s only one way to enforce a degree of consequence: the search engine ranking system.
Now I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that most duplicate content is comprised of stolen words because typically, it’s not. A more common way to form duplicate content comes from unintentionally creating URL variations inside of your site, as well as using exact phrases across multiple websites for business purposes like product descriptions or terms and conditions.
Duplicate content isn’t only an issue of originality, it’s an issue with the search engine crawler’s ability to index your pages because they’re finding previously scraped content. For many companies that wish to achieve rapid growth in the rank system, overlooking the potential for duplicates will result in lowered page ranking or exclusion from the system altogether. Luckily, our local SEO expert is here to help you spot these issues before they affect your business.
Duplicate Content vs. Syndicated Content
One of the first things to note when it comes to understanding duplicate content is the difference between duplication and syndication. Google doesn’t necessarily hate duplications, it hates plagiarism. Pages with plagiarism are constructed merely to increase traffic or persuade a click without adding value. To be flagged as duplicate content, the site would have to have numerous pages with the same exact content as other credible sites on the internet without using proper syndication. This is considered plagiarism and Google will penalize your site’s ranking.
While having pages on your website that contain the same content as other pages on your website (i.e. your footer contains the same snippet of content throughout your website) may be considered duplicate content, Google will not penalize your rankings for this repetitive use of content. Instead, you will only rank for that content on the page where Google first discovered its use, but not for other pages which also contain the same content. One thing to be noted, the content must be original content or else the same rules of plagiarism apply.
Another instance where duplicate content is actually appropriate, depending on the industry or type of content that has been reused, is syndicated content. For example, multiple news outlets will commonly report on the same events while using the same quotes from one station to the next. Instead of viewing these pages all as duplicates, Google respects their authority as news outlets and allows them to rank separately without viewing their content as copied. Smashed Media, a Florida SEO company can act as your local SEO expert to explain each case where syndicated content is allowed.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your content remains unduplicated is to examine your website using tools like Copyscape and Siteliner. Additionally, it’s up to your website manager or local SEO expert to check for consistency across all links, making sure that the ordering of paths used in your URL stay congruent. Something as simple as adding or withdrawing the “www” in your links will create a duplicate webpage. Out of all of the ways to minimize duplicate content, this is one of the most controllable measures to make sure you aren’t penalizing yourself.
Utilizing a 301 redirect to send visitors from a duplicated page to the original piece of content is another brilliant way to halt their competition with one another. Furthermore, contacting other website owners who link to your duplicate content and providing them with the correct URL will help increase the value of your original content. Once redirected, the duplicates will be out of the rank system, and the original page will gain rank. If a redirect isn’t the way you want to go, there’s an attribute labeled “rel=canonical” that can help inform search engines that the current page should be treated as a duplicate. Part of the HTML head, “rel=canonical” provides the true URL of the page which should be granted the ranking and metrical value by a search engine, as opposed to designating itself as the original.
All in all, establishing your brand as an authority over a certain industry or set of ideas by delivering original content is the surest way to avoid duplication. Whoever you hire for your SEO services should have a full understanding of how to avoid duplicate content. Smashed Media is an example of a Florida SEO company that utilizes original content for its SEO marketing efforts as well as the tools needed to continually monitor and protect against competitors use of your website’s original content.